Soldier killed in Afghanistan blast

Author: By Sam Marsden, Press Association

The serviceman, from the Light Dragoons, died in an explosion near Gereshk in
Helmand Province last night.

He was taking part in Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther’s Claw, a major
assault against the Taliban in the central Helmand river valley ahead of
next month’s Afghan presidential election.

The soldier’s next of kin have been informed.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said:
“This soldier gave his life for the security of his own country and the
freedom of the Afghan people -there is no greater sacrifice than this.

“Our deepest and heartfelt sympathies go to his family and loved ones.”

The death takes the number of British servicemen and women killed in
Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 to 176.

It has been a grim week for UK forces in the country, with a series of
fatalities including the highest ranking Army officer to die on operations
since the Falklands.

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, 39, the commanding officer of the 1st
Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammond, 18, of 2nd Royal Tank
Regiment, died in a blast near Lashkar Gah last Wednesday.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects when their bodies were
returned to the UK on Monday.

Another three British soldiers were killed in Operation Panchai Palang over
the weekend.

Lance Corporal David Dennis, 29, of the Light Dragoons, and Private Robert
Laws, 18, of 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, died on Saturday.

And Lance Corporal Dane Elson, 22, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was
killed by an explosion on Sunday.

A British soldier from 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died alongside
two Canadian troops in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s southern Zabul
Province on Monday.

He is expected to be named by the Ministry of Defence later today.

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