06 Feb. 2009
PR# 2009-117

Escalation of force incident in Helmand Province

KABUL, Afghanistan – A local Afghan was killed in the Nad Ali district of Helmand Province in an escalation of force incident on Feb. 3.

A joint Afghan National Army (ANA) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol, already defending itself against attack from two enemy positions, was approached by a motorcyclist believed to be a suicide bomber. The motorcyclist, riding at speed directly towards the patrol, failed to respond to verbal warning signals to stop. Warning shots were then fired in accordance with approved escalation of force procedures. When the rider again failed to respond, refusing to stop, change course or reduce speed, aimed shots were then fired. Unfortunately the rider was killed and only later confirmed not to be a suicide bomber.

In this incident the motorcycle rider did not react to the verbal warning or warning shots. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF soldiers are trained to take appropriate steps to minimize civilian casualties, whilst at the same time taking action to protect themselves when threatened. It is vital for the safety of everyone that civilians react immediately to warnings and instructions from ANSF and ISAF soldiers.

ISAF and ANSF deeply regret incidents where civilian casualties are caused by their actions. Both forces take every precaution they can to avoid tragic incidents like this. The enemy, however choose to engage with ISAF and ANSF troops within populated areas clearly placing local people at extreme risk of injury or death.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/