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Two Danes And Brit Killed In Afghanistan

File image courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) Dec 4, 2008
Two Danish soldiers serving with NATO's force in Afghanistan were killed Thursday in the southern part of the country, the Danish military said in a statement.

The soldiers were killed when clashes erupted with enemy forces while they were on patrol about eight kilometers (five miles) south of the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province, the statement said.

The foot patrol came under attack around 9:00 am local time (0430 GMT) when a mine exploded and then gunfire erupted. The blast killed a Danish soldier, while a later explosion killed a second Dane who had arrived to help carry away his compatriot.

On Wednesday, Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Defence Minister Soeren Gade toured the Gereshk district following a visit to Danish troops in Helmand.

The deaths bring to 18 the number of Danish troops killed in the country since Copenhagen deployed soldiers there as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in 2001 -- one of the highest per-capita death tolls among coalition forces.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "deeply saddened" by the deaths and expressed his "deepest sympathies" to their loved ones.

Denmark currently has some 700 troops in Afghanistan, most of whom are stationed in the Helmand province under British command.

Helmand sees some of the worst of the Taliban insurgency and most of its districts are said to be in control of the rebels, despite the efforts of NATO troops.

British soldier dies in Iraq
A British soldier died in Iraq on Thursday due to a gunshot wound to the head, though no enemy forces were involved, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, without elaborating.

The soldier was serving with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps in southern Iraq, where Britain's remaining 4,100 troops in the country are based.

"At approximately 9:00 am local time (0600 GMT) a report was received of a soldier who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head," the MoD said in a statement.

"Immediate medical assistance was provided, but sadly the soldier was declared dead at the scene.

"No enemy forces were involved. The incident is the subject of an ongoing investigation. There is no evidence to suggest that anyone else was involved in the incident."

Next of kin have been informed.

The death brings to 177 the number of British soldiers who have died in the Iraq mission since the start of operations in March 2003.

Of these, 136 were killed as a result of hostile action.

The remaining 41 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents, or have not yet officially been assigned a cause of death pending the outcome of an investigation.

The last British solder to die in Iraq was killed in a firefight in March in the main southern city of Basra.

British troops are based at an air station outside the oil port city, where they are training up local forces.

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