The bullet was fired from an L115 long-range rifle, adapted from the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare Super Magnum. The same weapon already held the record for the longest recorded sniper kill, another shot fired by a British soldier, who killed a Taliban target in Helmand province from more than 1.5 miles away.
The British military believes the six-man shot, which took place in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan last December, foiled a large-scale coordinated suicide attack as a second explosive vest was discovered nearby.
The marksman, a lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards, was 930 yards from his target when he squeezed the trigger. There was a short pause after the subsequent explosion and he said over the radio: “I think I’ve just shot a suicide bomber.”
The incident was one of the rare direct gun battles still ongoing in Afghanistan as British and American troops withdraw from the country. Several hundred British and Afghan soldiers were carrying out an operation at the end of last year when the sniper spotted a potential attacker.
“The guy was wearing a vest. He was identified by the sniper moving down a tree line and coming up over a ditch,” Lieutenant Colonel Richard Slack told The Telegraph. “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.”
With his first shot on the tour of duty, the same sniper killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,465 yards.