British soldier killed in Afghan blast

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A British soldier was killed in an explosion Monday while on patrol in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London said, bringing the national death toll there to 311 since 2001.

The soldier from the Royal Dragoon Guards died on a vehicle patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, where most of Britain's 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are serving as part of an international coalition.

"He was part of a screening force that was providing protection to enable the building of a road in the Babaji area such that local Afghans could move more freely when he was struck by an explosion," said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith.

His death brings to 311 the total number of British troops killed in operations in Afghanistan since October 2001. Most of them died in southern Afghanistan, where they are battling Taliban insurgents.

© 2010 AFP

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