Cameron sees hunt for captured soldier

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The Independent Online

A British soldier was captured and killed by the Taliban after going missing from his base in southern Afghanistan yesterday. UK forces had searched frantically to find him after he disappeared, with all other operations in Helmand put on hold.

By nightfall the body of the man, from the The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was discovered. He was the first British soldier to be captured in Afghanistan. The operation to try and rescue him coincided with an unannounced visit by David Cameron to Helmand to highlight military advances against the Taliban and discuss the planned transition to Afghan security forces.

The soldier had been spotted walking off from the Sallang checkpoint, in Nahr-e-Saraj, a district which had experienced ferocious violence, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Accounts by local people placed the soldier, believed to be an NCO, at a village called Kopak in the company of a group of Afghan men, some in uniform. Other accounts said he had been swimming at a canal adjoining the village before being taken away and then "sold" to a local insurgent commander.

Afghan General Sayed Malook said: "We believe two ANA (Afghan National Army) soldiers were with the British soldier. They all went swimming, but then our soldiers lost him."

The Prime Minister was forced to change his travel plans as a result of the hunt for the soldier.

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