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The British Ministry of Defense said 'human error' had allowed the 17-year-old reservist to slip past rigorous checks and wind up in combat.
Adam Wilkie, a British boy of only 17, was mistakenly sent to fight on the front line in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.
The Ministry of Defense said today that this was regrettable and a violation of policy, the news agency reported, noting that 16 and 17-year-olds may enlist but are too young to fight.
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The boy was first identified by The Sun, a British tabloid, which said the “burley teenager” had “spent six weeks in the thick of battle in the powderkeg province of Helmand.” Wilkie is a Kingsman in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, according to The Sun. However the Press Association said he was stationed in Cyprus as a reservist.
The boy is now a man of 19, The Sun said.
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In a statement carried by the Press Assocation, a Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying: “"Our processes are robust and this extremely rare situation was down to human error. The Army has taken action to try to ensure that this does not happen again."
While Wilkie is now 19, the most recent British combat fatality in Afghanistan, Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones, a father of one from a signal squadron, was only 21, according to The Daily Mirror.
According to Sky News, nearly 400 British military and civilian personnel have been killed in Helmand since 2001. About 9,000 British troops are currently stationed there, the network said.
CNN reported today that at least three people were killed and 30 more, including three British nationals, were injured when and explosion in Helmand province’s capital, Lashkar Gah occurred near the governor’s compound.
A spokesman for the governor said a suicide bomber driving a car appeared to have targeted a foreign armored convoy.