At least four U.S. servicemen were killed
April 15, 2002 5:38 AM   Subscribe

At least four U.S. servicemen were killed near Kandahar when captured enemy rockets they were trying to destroy accidentally detonated. Other servicemen were injured, and a few are missing.
posted by Kevin Sanders (7 comments total)
Not to dis this FPP, but not only is this a fairly routine ocurrence, and par for the course, but I can't see how it will generate much discussion. This is just straight news, just something that happened. But I could be wrong.
posted by donkeyschlong at 6:05 AM on April 15, 2002

Perhaps the only topic worthy of discussion is why this merits a FPP when the death of three Germans and two Danes in a similar incident in Kabul over a month ago did not.
posted by xiffix at 6:30 AM on April 15, 2002

Absent any other details, I smell "booby-trap." EODs are pretty careful and well-trained people, and rockets and other munitions don't usually blow up by themselves, especially in the hands of skilled handlers. But a stockpile is depressingly easy to rig a hidden trigger charge to.
posted by alumshubby at 7:32 AM on April 15, 2002

But the stockpiled weapons are probably more than half a decade past their expiration date, and they have not been well maintained, even by Russian standards. It wouldn't be at all impossible for one of them to detonate unintentionally due to routine handling.

Also, EODs can only have so much experience dealing with genuine vintage Soviet weaponry. It's not as if they do this every day.
posted by Ptrin at 8:30 AM on April 15, 2002

It's hard to say, because while the munitions (likely either Soviet, or if more recent vintage, Chinese) are definitely aged, booby traps are a common feature of Afghan warfare. During the Soviet occupation, it became almost an art form for some mujahedin.

xiffix, is it just possible that a newspaper in a soldier's home country is more likely to report his death than a soldier from another country? Is there a moral failing when that occurs?
posted by dhartung at 2:24 PM on April 15, 2002

Well, seing as we are fighting as allies, I think it would be proper to acknowledge that we've had soldiers come back in coffins as well. Of course, the death of an American soldier is always bigger news in America than the death of a Danish - that is perfectly natural - but this is - as is many other cases - a question of proportion.

Yes, soldiers are dying. It's tragic, and considering the circumstances, perhaps unavoidable.
posted by cx at 3:45 PM on April 15, 2002

Big deal.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 8:00 PM on April 15, 2002

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