British soldier killed in Afghanistan attack: ministry

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A British soldier was killed by insurgent fire in Afghanistan, the defence ministry said Saturday, bringing to 369 the number of troops from the country to die since Afghan operations started in 2001.

The soldier from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland was killed on Friday in the Lashkar Gah district of the troubled southern province of Helmand, it said in a statement.

"The soldier was on a partnered patrol with the Afghan National Police to reassure the local population when his unit came under attack by rifle, rocket-propelled grenade and indirect fire from insurgents, during which he was fatally wounded," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

The soldier's relatives have been informed, the statement said.

Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second-largest contributor after the United States to the NATO-led coalition.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said they will be withdrawn by the end of 2014 once responsibility for security is handed over to Afghan forces.

© 2011 AFP

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