A coalition soldier recently was shot by an insurgent who was using an Afghan girl as a human shield in Helmand province.
Lance Cpl. Craig Murfitt, a rifleman and medic serving with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was on a security patrol when the patrol was ordered to reinforce another unit pinned down by enemy fire.
“It had been a pretty standard patrol but, when the call came in and we were re-tasked, we were told to get in there fast and provide support,” said Murfitt. “Our heavy firepower seemed to bring the fight to an end fairly quickly, but we stayed alert. Everything was quiet, but then I spotted three men with a child on a compound roof, about 300 yards to the front of the vehicles.
“Suddenly two of the men moved off, leaving one man with the child. It was a girl, no more than 10 years old. At this point I realized something was wrong. The man picked up a rifle and moved behind the child, taking aim at me.”
Murfitt told his commander he could identify a possible insurgent who was using a child as a shield and taking aim at his vehicle. He was faced by a dilemma, protect himself or engage the insurgent and endanger the child. He decided to wait.
“I knew I could take him down but, being a dad myself, I didn’t want to run the risk of killing a kid and undoing all the good work we’ve achieved. So I waited, hoping that the child would drop down and give me a clear shot,” Murfitt said.
As he was waited for a clear shot, the insurgent fired a single shot striking him on the left side of his helmet and knocking him to the floor. Murfitt was uninjured, but dazed.
Murfitt managed to signal to the vehicle gunners where the shooter was. The child had run off as soon as the shot was fired, giving the troops the chance to fire without endangering the girl.
Article by ISAF Joint Command