Soldier killed in blast ‘had Olympic ambitions’

Trooper Christopher Whiteside, 20, of the Light Dragoons, died in an explosion near Gereshk in Helmand province. He had hoped to compete as a fencer in the 2012 Olympics.

He became the seventh British soldier to die in as many days, bringing the total killed in Afghanistan to 176. His commanding officer, Lt-Colonel Gus Fair, said: “Trooper Whiteside had been tested in some of the most intense fighting ever experienced in Afghanistan and had never been found wanting.”

Meanwhile, an explosion outside a school south of the Afghan capital yesterday killed at least 25 people, including 15 students. The blast was caused by explosives hidden in the back of a lorry which had crashed overnight, leading to speculation that the explosives could have been meant for an attack elsewhere.

Violence has escalated since US Marines launched a major offensive a week ago.

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