British soldier dies in Afghanistan blast: ministry

3rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British soldier was killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry said Sunday, taking the country's military death toll there since the 2001 invasion to 339.

The soldier from the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles died during a patrol on Saturday in insurgency-hit Helmand province, said Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand.

"The soldier was patrolling within the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, as part of the ongoing mission to protect and reassure the local population, when he was struck by an explosion," Eastman said.

Britain has nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, the second largest contingent after the United States, with most of them deployed in Helmand, a centre for the Taliban insurgency and for the opium trade.

© 2010 AFP

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