Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Release of 'friendly fire' probe results awaits U.S. approval

Release of 'friendly fire' probe results awaits U.S. approval

HALIFAX -- A closed-door investigation into the possibility a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan was killed by friendly fire has concluded, but the board of inquiry's report won't be released until it is vetted by U.S. officials.

The board investigated the death of Pte. Robert Costall, who was killed last spring during a firefight between coalition forces and insurgents at Sangin, west of Kandahar.

U.S. and Afghan officials have a veto over the release of what they consider "classified" information.

An inquiry spokesman said Canadians can rest assured the investigation will determine what happened, but some classified information will be withheld.

The possibility that Costall, a 22-year-old machine gunner, was killed by friendly fire was raised by his wounded comrades when the brigade commander, Canadian Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, visited them in hospital.

The troops told Fraser they had been hit by fire from their own side as they rushed to take up positions.

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