DoD pulls mention of friendly fire from posting on soldier’s death

Stars and Stripes reports that DoD posted a press release to their website which stated an investigation was under way into the possibility that a soldier killed recently in Afghanistan may have died as a result of friendly fire but later in the day DoD removed the posting only to repost it without mention of friendly fire.

According to a DOD release, Kahler, 29, was killed by small-arms fire in the
village of Waygul. The Army is investigating the incident, which it says might
have been the result of friendly fire. An Afghan guard reportedly fired the
fatal shots.

That release, however, was removed from the Web site later in the day.

Lt. Col. George Wright from the Army public affairs office said there were a
“couple errors” in the original posting and that a new one should be posted
soon. Asked if the information was incorrect or just posted prematurely, Wright
replied: “The circumstances around his death are still being investigated.”

The Defense Department’s revised news release made no mention of a possible
friendly-fire incident, but it did say the incident is under investigation.

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington said the changes
made to the news release made it consistent with all department news releases.

Asked why the reference to friendly fire was removed, Withington said: “We
leave it to the investigation. We don’t speculate in our releases.”

Withington deferred comment to the Army as to why the possibility of friendly
fire was mentioned in the original release.

Southern European Task Force officials sent a news release later in the day
to identify Kahler as the deceased soldier. The release made no mention of his
death possibly being the result of friendly fire.

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