British death toll in Afghanistan hits 300: officials

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A British marine has died of injuries sustained in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said Monday, taking the country's total military death toll in the conflict to 300.

"It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines, part of Combined Force Sangin," the MoD said in a statement.

It added that he died in hospital in Birmingham, central England, on Sunday after being seriously injured in an explosion in Sangin, Helmand province, on June 12.

In response to the grim landmark, Defence Secretary Liam Fox again stressed that he hoped to pull British troops out of Afghanistan once Afghans can provide sufficient security and governance for themselves.

"The last nine years have seen British forces at the forefront of the campaign, for the last five working hard in one of the most challenging areas of the country building Afghan capacity to secure and govern their own country -- a process which ultimately will allow us to bring our forces home," he said.

The head of the armed forces, Jock Stirrup, added: "In theatre today, our people will be more determined than ever to deliver their task of supporting Afghans to build for their own future."

The name of the dead marine has not yet been released although his family has been informed of his death.

© 2010 AFP

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