One shot, six kills: British sniper hits Taliban suicide bomber's detonation switch from more than half a mile away

Kind of surprising, given jihadis’ fondness for wearing their explosives, that we don’t have a technology capable of flipping a switch remotely. Except, I guess, we do. It’s called “bullets.”

I’ve never seen something like this in a movie, presumably because not even Hollywood could imagine a scene this amazing.

Several hundred British and Afghan soldiers were carrying out an operation in December when they were engaged in a gun battle with 15 to 20 insurgents.

“The guy was wearing a vest. He was identified by the sniper moving down a tree line and coming up over a ditch,” said Lt Col Slack. “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.”

It is understood the L/Cpl was using an L115A3 gun, the Army’s most powerful sniper weapon.

Six kills from one shot is a modern record according to Britain’s defense ministry. The Telegraph claims that the shot hit the detonation switch but I wonder if it didn’t hit the explosive material itself, sparking the explosion directly. I know next to nothing about combustibles, though. Any veterans or counterterror experts out there have thoughts on this? The only two materials used in suicide bombs that I’m remotely familiar with are C4 and TATP, and I know (via, er, “Mythbusters”) that you can do a lot of damage to C4 before it detonates. Burn it, smash it — nothing happens. Only when the ingredients are combined does it go boom, which presumably means a bullet hitting the material wouldn’t set it off. TATP is less stable, though. According to one site, “any small amount of energy added to the system in the form of friction, pressure or heat will cause the [oxygen] bond to dissociate initiating the reaction.” TATP is, I believe, also easier to come by than C4, making it likelier to be found in a Taliban’s vest.

So moved was AFP by this feat that they felt obliged to immortalize it in a computer video. You’ll find that below, along with a clip from the History Channel that’s a few years old about the longest confirmed kill in known military history — also accomplished in Afghanistan.