British soldier killed in Afghanistan

Author: By Matt Dickinson, PA

The serviceman, from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, died yesterday on
patrol east of Gereshk in Helmand Province. His next of kin have been

His death takes the British death toll in Afghanistan since 2001 to 196.

The soldier was on foot patrol at the time, the MoD said.

Nato said he was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wenham, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “Each
and every loss that we sustain in Helmand sends reverberations throughout
the brigade.

“Today we mourn the loss of a soldier who died working to make Afghanistan a
better place. He was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, displaying
bravery that was second to none.

“Our thoughts are with his family and we offer them our deepest and heartfelt
condolences at this tragic time.”

The death comes two days after three Paras were killed in southern Afghanistan.

They were named as Corporal Kevin Mulligan, 26, who was the father of an
unborn child, Lance Corporal Dale Hopkins, 23, and Private Kyle Adams, 21.

The trio were working with special forces at the time, carrying out a routine
security patrol with Afghan forces when the vehicle was struck by the blast
and came under small arms fire.

A fourth member of the patrol injured in Thursday’s blast remained in a
critical condition.

Five British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this month, following on
from the record 22 fatalities in July.

The former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan attacked the
Ministry of Defence today for leaving heavily-armoured vehicles “parked up
doing nothing” at a UK base.

Colonel Richard Kemp described as “extraordinary” pictures published by the
News of the World showing large numbers of vehicles such as Ridgbacks,
Bulldogs and Mastiffs at a facility in Gloucestershire.

The MoD insisted that the equipment at the Defence Storage and Distribution
Agency site was to be fitted with armour, radios and to undergo testing.

But Col Kemp said the numbers involved were “disproportionate” and questioned
why the potentially life-saving hardware was not at the front line.

“We are continuously told, by people from the Chief of the General Staff
downward, that there is a shortage of the right vehicles in theatre,” he
told the newspaper.

“It seems extraordinary that they should be sitting here parked up doing
nothing whatsoever when they are needed out there.”

“If you consider that the Viking in which Colonel (Rupert) Thorneloe was
killed is a less-protected vehicle than a Mastiff or a Ridgback, you have to
ask why they are still running around in Vikings when they could be using
the other types of vehicles that are parked up in Gloucestershire,” he said
– in a reference to the highest-ranking British officer to be killed in more
than 25 years.

An MoD spokesman said: “It is completely unsustainable to have all our
vehicles in theatre at once. It is imperative that if the mission is to be
sustainable, we need to have a fleet in theatre and in the UK for training,
maintenance and critical upgrades.

“We have now spent over £1 billion on new vehicles for operations, with a
total of 1,200 new vehicles supporting operations that have been ordered
over the last two years.

“Vehicles are delivered to DSDA by industry where they are fitted with radios
and armour and checked to ensure they are the correct standard to satisfy
the troops on the ground.

“They are then either distributed to theatre, used for training or domestic
purposes in the UK or held in reserve capability. Vehicles also go through
maintenance at DSDA.”

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