British marine killed in Afghanistan blast

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A British marine was killed Wednesday by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London said.

A troop from 40 Commando Royal Marines was conducting a patrol in Sangin District, in the troubled Helmand Province, aimed at reassuring the local population, the MoD said.

The marine is the third member of 40 Commando to have been killed in eight days, all in explosions near Sangin.

"He was on a foot patrol with his fellow marines and Afghan National Army soldiers when he was struck by an explosion," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith.

"He died in the course of his duty seeking to improve the lives of the people of Sangin. His courage in the face of danger will not be forgotten."

The death brings to 290 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 255 were killed as a result of hostile action.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, largely battling Taliban militants in Helmand.

Britain's new coalition government has put Afghanistan top of its foreign policy agenda.

© 2010 AFP

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