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UK names 5 troops killed in Afghan shooting

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Afghan police training struggle
  • Five British soldiers killed in Helmand province, all died from gunshot wounds
  • Soldiers came under fire Tuesday in the Nad-e'Ali District of Helmand
  • British Ministry of Defense: Initial reports show fire initiated by Afghan national policeman
  • British PM: "The death of five brave soldiers in a single incident is a terrible loss"

London, England (CNN) -- The British Ministry of Defence Wednesday named the five troops who were killed in Afghanistan in a shooting blamed on a "rogue" Afghan policeman.

They were Warrant Officer 1st Class Darren Chant, Sgt. Matthew Telford, and Guardsman James Major, all of the 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, and Royal Military Policemen Acting Cpl. Steven Boote and Cpl. Nicholas Webster-Smith, the ministry said Wednesday.

The men were killed in an attack in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, the British Ministry of Defence said earlier in the day.

The attack happened Tuesday afternoon in the Nad-e'Ali District of Helmand, the ministry said. All the soldiers died from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack.

Top 10 ISAF troop contributing nations
United States: 65,000
United Kingdom: 9,000
Germany: 4,245
Canada: 2,830
Italy: 2,795
Netherlands: 2,160
Poland: 2,025
Australia: 1,200
Spain: 1,000

Source: ISAF

Initial reports show that it was an Afghan national policeman who initiated the fire on the soldiers, a ministry spokesman told CNN.

"I don't think that this is the example of a broader picture, but this could be an example of corruption ... or somebody might have been paid, somebody might have had connections," former Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah told Sky News about the reports.

"These are the things you cannot take care of (individually). This has to be taken care of by those who are in charge of the police force," he added.

Lt. Col. David Wakefield, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand, expressed his "deepest sadness" at the deaths.

"Five British soldiers, five of our own, shot down in the course of their duty. They will not be forgotten," Wakefield said.

British Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth also expressed his sadness and condolences, as did British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"The death of five brave soldiers in a single incident is a terrible loss," Brown said in a statement. "My thoughts, condolences and sympathies go to their families, loved ones and colleagues. I know that the whole country too will mourn their loss."