TA soldier who shot suspected Taliban bomber in murder investigation

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TA soldier who shot suspected Taliban bomber in murder investigation

Fusilier Duane Knott could become the first British soldier serving in Afghanistan to be charged with murder. He gives his first interview to The Sunday Telegraph.

Fusilier Duane Knott had spent years working in a factory and cleaning windows in Caerphilly, south Wales, while undergoing training at weekends so that he could fight in the war By Ben Leach, and Sean Rayment,

When Fusilier Duane Knott volunteered to serve with the Territorial Army in Afghanistan at the age of 24, it was the fulfilment of a boyhood dream.

He had spent years working in a factory and cleaning windows in Caerphilly, south Wales, while undergoing training at weekends so that he could fight in the war.

But 15 months after his return from Afghanistan he faces a possible murder charge over the shooting of a suspected Taliban bomber.

Lying back on his sofa at the small two-bedroom flat he rents in the village of Cwmfelinfach, where his military photographs take pride of place on the mantelpiece, the 26-year-old reflects on the traumatic past two years.

“It’s been really difficult,” he says. “I’ve found it hard to cope. When I feel down, I feel really down. Really rock bottom.

“But what hurts the most is that it’s brought a really bad name to my company. And not being able to go back out – that really has destroyed me. I was putting my body on the line. I got shot at. I just feel really let down by it all.”

Fusilier Knott has spent most of his life in Caerphilly. He was born there and went to Pontllanfraith secondary school, where he got six GCSEs before doing a national diploma in Music and Art at a local college.

But his real ambition was to be a soldier. After leaving college he joined the regular army in 2005 but dropped out after four-and-a-half months of basic training – a decision he describes as “the biggest mistake of my life”.

He waited a year before joining the TA and then spent years working in a factory and as a window cleaner before passing his initial training.

He spent five months training in Canada before being posted to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh – attached to 1st battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshires) battlegroup – in April at the start of one of the most violent periods of the Afghan war.

Two months later one of his closest friends, Fusilier Jonathan Monk, a fellow member of the TA who had volunteered to serve in Afghanistan at the same time, was killed in an IED blast while on patrol.

Then the following month came the moment that changed his life.

Fusilier Knott had been ordered to undertake sentry duties inside the fortified compound at Patrol Base Rahim in the Nahr-e-Seraj area of central Helmand.

The soldier says he had been told to watch an Afghan digging in a field 400 metres from the base, and warned he might be about to plant an IED.

He was also told that a patrol was about to leave the base and would pass through the area in which the Afghan was digging a hole.

Fusilier Knott claims he then saw the Afghan disappear into bushes on the edge of a field before returning holding a cloth bag which he believed contained an IED.

“I remember it now. Plain as day. He just stood over the hole so I thought 'time to get on to Comms’ – through to the ops (operational) room for permission to engage (open fire), because I knew exactly what he was doing.

“I couldn’t get through. Turns out I was pressing the wrong button on the dial. I had only just come back from patrol so I didn’t exactly know what was going on in that sangar (fortified position). Usually I’d be pressing the '1’ but this time it was the '0’.

“I thought: press '1’ press '1’ but couldn’t get through. So I then I took it on my own back to engage. That’s why I’m in this position now. Because I didn’t have the power to command myself to engage.

“I shot him twice in his back. He was sat down. He didn’t move. So I shot him a further twice. He rolled over and kept on going for the bag so I shot him a further twice and that was it. Six in all. Two and then another two and another two.”

The wounded Afghan was evacuated to a Forward Operating Base but died later from his wounds.

British investigators found no evidence that the man was attempting to plant a bomb – but Fusilier Knott believes that they failed to recover the bag at the centre of the incident

After reporting details of the shooting to his headquarters, he alleges he was immediately accused of lying by his Company Sergeant Major, who told him that he had just shot an “innocent guy”.

“I went down [the sangar] and went across and spoke to the OC (Officer Commanding) and Sergeant Major. I told him that it was me that engaged. I couldn’t get through to Comms – the Ops room. It all pretty much went downhill from there.

“The Sgt Major didn’t believe me. He was like 'Nah, you’ve just shot someone walking through a field’. 'You’ve just opened up on some innocent person’. I was like 'No, that’s not the case’. I tried to get my story across but nothing. They took my weapon off me.

“Sgt Major’s immediate reaction was 'no you’ve engaged on an innocent guy’. 'You’re a liar’.

“I don’t think it was anything personal he [the Sgt Major] just honestly didn’t believe me. I just didn’t know how to speak to him. I couldn’t get my message across.

“There was a split down the middle. You either believed me or you didn’t. Some did [believe me] some didn’t. The other Sgt Major did.”

Fusilier Knott says that his rifle was taken away, something that made him feel “like a kid”, and he was confined to base for several weeks before being sent back to Camp Bastion where he completed the rest of his seven-month tour.

There he was interviewed under caution by the Royal Military Police who said that he may face a murder charge in the future.

“You think you do something, make them proud but then when you’ve got your own company thinking you’re a liar and don’t believe you – not all of them but a lot of them. It doesn’t make you feel good.

“I know for a fact what I did was right. How could you live with yourself for killing an innocent person? I couldn’t.

“I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t have regrets. No remorse whatsoever. I don’t feel sad about it. Nightmares? Not even nearly.

“I’d expect anybody to do the same – especially a soldier.”

Fusilier Knott returned from Afghanistan in October to a flat near the home of his parents, who have supported him through his ordeal. He says he found it difficult to cope at first, despite falling in love on his return.

“I was totally head over heels. She helped me so much – took my mind off things.

“But when I got a letter a couple of months later saying there may be action taken my head went and it affected the relationship and we broke up. She just had had enough.

“It really depressed me. Having someone say there’s a possibility that you might be getting done for murder – it’s going to ruin your life. She just couldn’t deal with it. I just drank to keep it all out.

“That’s devastating, don’t get me wrong. But what hurts most is I’m a bad name in my company. That’s the main thing.”

But despite the trauma of the past 20 months Fusilier Knott says he still wants to return to Afghanistan and hopes to become a full-time soldier

“I need to be a full-time soldier. Even part-time soldier would be great but I can’t do anything and that’s what’s breaking me.

“I just need the military to accept the truth. I want to get on with my career in the army. Get on with my life.

“I’m very confident that I’ll be cleared. I think they can’t do that [charge me with murder]. It’s impossible. It would be like doing a soldier over – stabbing a soldier in the back.

“I go down to the TA on Tuesday nights. I go down there and tell the new recruits good luck. Even though this has happened I tell them cherish the moment because you’ll never find anything like it in your life.”

TA soldier who shot suspected Taliban bomber in murder investigation - Telegraph

Is it me, or does something not sound quite right about the whole thing? Can't put my finger on it. :?
I would presume this thread will be locked in short order, but RoE is RoE.




I think there are Arrse rules regarding this sort of stuff, regardless that it's now in the public domain.

If and when he's charged, the papers will stop reporting.

It's probably best not to comment.
So he says:

“It’s been really difficult,” he says. “I’ve found it hard to cope. When I feel down, I feel really down. Really rock bottom.

Then goes on to say:

“I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t have regrets. No remorse whatsoever. I don’t feel sad about it. Nightmares? Not even nearly.

On another note; this is just another reason why we'll never achieve anything out there. We're too busy making sure we are whiter than white rather than actually trying to defeat the taliban.
There's a lot more to this. I'm very surprised its in the public domain.
CSI helmand should be able to wrap this one up.
oh wait:(


The first thing that struck me is the “justice delayed is justice denied” aspect. It should have been possible to establish the facts in a few weeks and decide if a charge was appropriate in days. Instead we have had a 20 month delay. This is unfair on the soldier and the relatives of the man shot and will make a just verdict harder.


"It all pretty much went downhill from there".

The epitaph of many a fine military career.


Definitely more to this than what's been reported, and only his side of the story so he's obviously going to try and show himself in the best possible light.
Agree. Not Even a warning shot if he was that worried. Something's not right.

I agree. The story rings hollow. 6 shots, no IED found. If he had reported would he have received permission to open fire?

Ultimately this sounds like yet another press coup that the army could do without.
An IED that you know the exact location of does not seem to be much of a threat, no reason to light some guy up on your own initiative like he was about to open fire on friendlies or something. If this is the best light he can paint the situation in for himself it's pretty obvious that he mucked up.


War Hero
Little things like the comms issue don't add up. No handover/ takeover on the sanger? No radio check on taking over sentry? No secondary comms eg PRR?
I find it very odd that the fellas CSM outright didn't believe him and allegedly called him a liar. It sounds as if the bloke didn't really have the trust of his team mates.

One thing I do hope is that this doesn't start a precedent whereby the blokes are afraid to open fire for fear of prosecution.


The most glaring thing is that he should have waited till he got through to the Ops Room before taking any action, seeing a bloke digging a hole then turning up with a bag is not positively ID'ing some one laying an IED.

If this happened over the tour that's recently finished then he must have been getting his head down during OPTAG and PDT.
No comment,,,No comment................
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