London (AFP) Feb 14, 2011
A British soldier was killed Monday by an explosion in Afghanistan after it was announced earlier in the day that two soldiers had died in a blaze at the main British base in the war-torn country.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London announced that a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment was killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in the restive Helmand Province.
"The soldier gave his life trying to defend against such senseless inhumanity," Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said.
"His courage and sacrifice will not be forgotten, and we offer heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. We will remember him."
"Sadly the insurgents have resorted to planting explosives that target innocent civilians and soldiers indiscriminately, without care for the impact that they have or the destruction they cause," he added.
Earlier Monday, the MoD said two servicemen from the Royal Logistics Corps had been caught up in a fire that broke out at Camp Bastion in Helmand, according to their initial indications.
The ministry said it believed no enemy action was involved.
The deaths bring to 357 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 313 were killed through hostile action.
Camp Bastion spokesman Wing Commander Martin Tinworth said the fire was "now under investigation."
"Both soldiers were involved in vital support work for the UK forces who continue to bring hope and stability across Afghanistan," he added.
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to both soldiers' family and friends at this deeply sad time."
The soldiers' next of kin have been informed. They are the seventh, eighth and ninth British army soldiers to die in Afghanistan this year.
Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second-largest contributor after the United States to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
They are based in central Helmand, battling Taliban insurgents and increasingly training local security forces.
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