Marine’s Death Caused by Afghan Security Guards Stoned on Opium?

March 4, 2010

(ChattahBox)—According to official reports, a young marine lost his life last month, during a battle in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, due to small arms fire. But there may be more to the circumstances surrounding the death of 24-year-old Lance Corporal Joshua Birchfield of Indiana. The Pentagon confirmed that an investigation has been opened into Birchfield’s death, to determine if U.S. hired private security guards fatally shot the young marine on the battlefield. And WLS-TV in Chicago is reporting that the guards were Afghans who were high on locally produced Opium.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed Wednesday that an investigation into Lance Corporal Joshua Birchfield’s death was ongoing. He also confirmed that seven privately contracted security guards were detained after the incident, and that guns and opium were confiscated from the guards’ compound.

According to WLS-TV in Chicago, Birchfield’s fellow Marines say that the guards were Afghans and were high on opium when Birchfield was fatally shot in Afghanistan.

Opium addiction is a growing problem in Afghanistan, particularly among the Afghan police forces. According to a recent ABC report, narcotics addiction is “a sleeping giant” in the war-torn nation, which produces about 93 percent of the world’s opium supply.

The official report on Birchfield’s death, as reported in the Military Times reads as follows:

“Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua H. Birchfield
Died February 19, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom

24, of Westville, Ind.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Feb. 19 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.”

Maj. Carl Redding of the Marine Corps confirmed the investigation, but referred additional questions to Marine Corps officials in Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old Marine was laid to rest last weekend in his hometown of Westville, Indiana.


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