A 20-year-old British army sniper killed six Taliban fighters with one single shot, according to the latest reports.
The incident happened back in December when British and Afghan troops were suddenly faced with close to 20 Taliban warriors.
“The guy was wearing a vest,” described Lt. Col Richard Slack. “He was identified by the [20-year-old] sniper moving down a tree line and coming up over a ditch. He had a shawl on. It rose up and the sniper saw he had a machine gun. They were in contact and he was moving to a firing position. The sniper engaged him and the guy exploded. There was a pause on the radio and the sniper said, 'I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber’. The rest of them were killed in the blast.”
The single shot wound up being enough to trigger the bomber’s suicide vest and kill six other surrounding Taliban members. The shot fired by the 20-year-old lance corporal was reportedly made at a range of 850 meters.
The Telegraph reports that incidents like this are happening less frequently as the number of troops in Afghanistan dwindle. Military personnel say they see change happening, and although it may be happening slowly, it is more progress than expected.
“I am an optimist,” said Capt. Ed Challis to The Telegraph. “There are lots of things that have changed for the better. You would be a fool to think you can change a hundred years of culture fast, but have things improved? Yes. I believe they are able to take it forward. I’d imagine once I get back it’s something I’ll look back on and sort of realize the historical importance of it – but at the moment we’re just focusing on our primary role here.”
Slack says that despite many tragic fatalities over the years, successes like the one that took place with the 20-year-old sniper prove that evolution in the country is possible, and that, he says, makes it all worth it.
“The price has been heavy for the Army and in particular it has been heavy for the families of those nearly 450 [military fatalities], and no one is under any illusions about that,” said Slack. “I will finish my tour knowing one of our NCOs will not be coming home and that is a heavy price to pay. Has it been worth it? At my level when I look at security that is here and the way the Afghan National Security Forces have developed, I certainly think it’s been worth it.”
The 20-year-old sniper has not yet been named.