Afghan toll: Nine UK soldiers killed in nine days

Author: Press Association and Assoicated Press

The first, from 4th Battalion The Rifles, was killed in an explosion while on
foot patrol near Nad-e-Ali in Helmand Province yesterday afternoon.

The other soldier, from Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment attached to 1st
Battalion Welsh Guards, died from a gunshot wound following a battle with
insurgents near Lashkar Gah in Helmand last night.

The second serviceman was taking part in Operation Panchai Palang, or
Panther’s Claw, a major assault against the Taliban in Helmand ahead of next
month’s Afghan elections.

Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson said: “These
fine British soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice and their memory will live
with us forever.

“We mourn their loss and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and
friends at this very sad time. We know that their deaths were not in vain.”

The deaths took the number of British troops who have died in Afghanistan
since the start of operations in October 2001 to 178, just one short of the
total toll in the Iraq conflict.

Meanwhile, five British soldiers killed in Afghanistan over the past week were
today being flown to a Wiltshire air base.

Four of them died taking part in Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther’s Claw,
a major assault against the Taliban in Helmand Province ahead of next
month’s Afghan elections.

Their bodies will be flown into RAF Lyneham. After a repatriation ceremony,
hearses carrying their coffins will pass along the high street of Wootton
Bassett, expected to be lined with hundreds of mourners.

Crowds have appeared spontaneously along the route to pay their respects since
the bodies of British service personnel started being brought home through
RAF Lyneham in 2007.

In Afghanistan, two policemen were killed and five wounded when a roadside
bomb struck their vehicle in the Giro district of southeastern Ghazni
province, the Interior Ministry said.

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