Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Soldier Dies In Helmand Bomb Blast

A soldier from the Parachute Regiment has been killed by a suspected improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan.

He died while on foot patrol near Sangin in Helmand Province. His family have been informed.

He is the third British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in the last week.

The other two servicemen died in separate suspected friendly fire incidents.

Lance Corporal Michael David Pritchard, 22, of the 4th Regiment Royal Military Police, was killed in Sangin on Sunday.

On Tuesday a soldier from 3rd Battalion The Rifles died from wounds sustained in a firefight near Sangin.

The Royal Military Police are investigating both deaths. No more information will be released until inquests have been carried out.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said friendly fire incidents took place "very frequently indeed" in the chaos of war.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Troops are fighting in places like Sangin and other towns and villages where there are very tightly-packed compounds, rat-run alleyways, and high mud walls.

"The enemy appears very, very briefly at short range - it's kill or be killed.

"You open fire rapidly and sometimes, tragically, you open fire on your own people."

A total of 243 British troops have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001, 106 this year alone.

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