Friday, 9 May 2008 16:20
A retired US Army Reserve Colonel has called on the US congress to compel the US army to re-investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Connemara native Ciara Durkin in Afghanistan last September.
Colonel Ann Wright has researched the suspicious noncombat deaths of military women in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
She has concluded that specific US Army units and certain US military bases in those countries have an inordinate number of women soldiers who have died of noncombat related injuries, with several identified as suicides.
According to her research, 94 US military women have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Twelve US civilian women have been killed during the operation.
Thirteen US military women have been killed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Twelve US Civilian women have been killed in Afghanistan. Colonel Wright says that at least 15 of these deaths occurred under extremely suspicious circumstances.
One such case was the death of Massachusetts Army National Guard Specialist Ciara Durkin.
the 30-year-old finance specialist was found lying near a church on the very secure Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, with a single gunshot wound to her head on 28 September 2007.
She had recently told her relatives to press for answers if anything happened to her while she was deployed in Afghanistan.
When she was home three weeks prior to her death, she told her sister about something she had come across that raised some concern with her and that she had made some enemies because of it.
Members of her family also questioned whether the fact that she was gay played a role in her death.
They believe Ms Durkin was killed by a fellow service member, intentionally or accidentally, and they are confident that she did not commit suicide.
The US army has recently concluded its investigation into the death and it is thought that it will rule that the cause of death was suicide.
Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have supported Ms Durkin's family's call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.