British soldier killed in Afghanistan accident

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A British Army soldier was killed Friday in an accident in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London announced.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, was on duty in the Nad-e Ali district of the troubled Helmand Province when the incident occurred.

The death brings to 351 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 309 were killed through hostile action.

"He died as a result of an operational accident, which is currently under investigation," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman.

"He has forfeited his life for the greater good, bringing hope to a people struggling to live their daily lives in peace -- his place in our thoughts is assured."

The soldier's next of kin have been informed. He was the third British Army soldier to die in Afghanistan this year.

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 increasingly training local security forces.

© 2011 AFP

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