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A British sniper killed six Taliban with just one bullet after hitting a suicide bomber’s trigger switch whose device then exploded, it emerged last night. The incredible 930-yard (850 metres) shot was fired by a 20-year-old Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards in Kakaran, southern Afghanistan, in December last year. The bullet hit the switch, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast, preventing a major attack on British troops.

It is understood the Lance Corporal, who has not been named, was using an L115A3 gun, the Army’s most powerful sniper weapon. And it was reported last night that the same sharpshooter killed a Taliban machine gunner from 1,465 yards (1,340 metres) on his first tour of duty. December’s incident – in which British and Afghan troops were engaged in a gun battle with 15 to 20 insurgents – has only just been disclosed as Britain moves towards the withdrawal of all combat soldiers by the end of the year. Lt Col Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, said the sniper stopped a major attack as a second suicide vest packed with 44lbs (20kg) of explosives was found nearby. Lt Col Slack said: “The guy was wearing a vest. He was identified by the 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 number of gun battles between British forces and Taliban has reduced recently. A total of 448 UK soldiers have died since 2001 but fewer have been injured in the most recent tour as Afghan forces now lead 97% of security operations across the country.

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