* Traditional Muhammedan warfare. Why is anyone surprised?
Telegraph UKÂ By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Taliban forces deliberately used a compound sheltering civilians for an attack that led to British troops bombing the home and killing an Afghan woman and two children, defence sources said.
Men from the 2Bn The Parachute Regiment, who have suffered 10 fatalities and at least 50 wounded this summer in Sangin town, were patrolling the area when they received intelligence that an attack was imminent from the building.
Paras from the snipers’ section, equipped with sophisticated sights, positively identified Taliban fighters on the roof of a compound.
Clearance was then received to fire three extremely accurate missiles from the Royal Artillery’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System that all landed on the target.
The insurgents “took a pasting” with a number of enemy dead but, unbeknown to the British, at least seven civilians were sheltering in the home including the fatalities, a six-year-old boy and a girl, believed to be eight, and a woman.
Four injured civilians were evacuated to Sangin District Centre by car with the support of British paratroopers who provided medical treatment before they were flown to Bastion hospital with their two relatives.
One of the injured children received specialist treatment before being evacuated to the French-run Mother and Childrens’ hospital in Kabul. The remaining three injured family members are recovering at Bastion following the incident on Saturday.
Lt Col David Reynolds, the British military spokesman in Helmand, said: “This was a tragic incident, a family member can never be replaced and it is always painful when civilians, particularly women and children are involved.
“While it is unclear exactly what caused their death an investigation is underway. What is clear is that Taliban fighters were in the area and showed a total disregard for the presence of civilians near them.”
A spokesman for Gulab Mangal, Helmand’s governor, expressed his sympathy for the loss and added that the Taliban’s ruthless tactics were often responsible for incidents involving civilians. He said: “The Taliban use tactics in which they cause civilian life to be at risk. They have no regard for the Afghan people and support for the Taliban in Helmand is reducing.”
A Nato spokesman said it “deeply regretted” the deaths of the civilians caused “a result of an imminent insurgent attack from a position where they would have known women and children were present”.
He added: “The enemies of Afghanistan have yet again shown a complete disregard for the lives of the innocent who they claim to fight for.”