Danish commander ordered missile strike that killed two Brits

Inquest hears that lack of training may have been an issue

An inquest in the United Kingdom into a 2009 ‘friendly fire’ incident in Afghanistan has heard that Danish soldiers gave the order for a deadly missile strike that killed two British servicemen, the BBC reports.

The coroner David Ridley said that the missile, believed to be a Javelin anti-tank weapon, had been fired by Gurkhas under a Danish commander’s orders. The Danish soldier is referred to the inquest as Soldier A.

The incident happened close to Forward Operation Base Gibraltar in the Helmand Province. Captain Tom Sawyer and Corporal Danny Winter were killed on a rooftop while providing fire support during an operation to clear Taliban compounds.

Danes didn’t attend inquest
The British soldiers were involved in a joint operation with a Danish battle group. The Danish soldiers involved declined to attend the inquest and gave their evidence by witness statements.

Major Robert Taylor, the chief instructor responsible for Javelin missile training, said that the Danish officer who ordered the firing would not have been trained in its use and that the weapon was not "user-friendly" to those who were not trained.

"The essential point is the engagement shouldn't occur unless there is a high degree of confidence that the target is a viable enemy," he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Muddiman, who was based at Forward Operation Base, told the inquest that the British troops had a "good working relationship" with their Danish colleagues, but that concerns had been expressed about "different cultures and expectations".