Britain's 2011 Afghanistan toll hits 30 as marine killed
A British marine was killed Friday in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London announced, the 30th British soldier involved in the campaign to die this year.
The man from 42 Commando Royal Marines was mortally wounded by a grenade attack on his checkpoint in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand. He died in a hospital at Britain's main base in the province.
The death brings to 378 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 333 were killed through hostile action.
"The Royal Marine was part of a foot patrol deployed to reassure local residents, and deter and disrupt insurgent activity, when they came under small arms attack," Task Force Helmand spokesman Major Rolf Kurth said.
"With the help of mortars and close air support, they broke contact with the insurgents and returned to their checkpoint.
"They then came under further attack, and the Royal Marine was mortally wounded by a grenade that landed inside the checkpoint. He died later in Camp Bastion Role 3 Hospital."
The Royal Marine's next of kin have been informed.
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 training up local security forces.
Prime Minister David Cameron wants all British troops out of a combat role in Afghanistan by 2015.
© 2011 AFP