MoD names three soldiers killed in Afghanistan IED blast as Government says it will ask questions about Mastiff armoured vehicle in Helmand

Troops are first to die in vehicle brought in to protect against  IEDs in Afghanistan

Defence Correspondent

Three British soldiers have been killed and six others injured in a huge roadside bombing in Afghanistan - the first troops to have died in a heavy-armoured Mastiff vehicle.

The soldiers, Corporal William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and Private Robert Hetherington, of the 7th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, were travelling in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand on a stretch of road that had been in regular use and was believed to be in a safe area.

Their deaths come as international forces prepare to leave the 12-year-old war.

Military officials are investigating whether insurgents are designing bigger bombs aimed at piercing the 23-tonne Mastiff's armour. They will not only look at how the bomb was made, but also into checks used by Afghan and British troops on patrol. “If you build a big enough bomb it will overcome a Mastiff. It's just never been done before,” a military source said.

The convoy was on Route 611, a new road that had been used to show the reconstruction taking place in the province. Increasingly, the Afghan army and police are carrying out searches for IEDs as they take over security duties.

The last time so many British soldiers were killed in one incident was last March when six died after their Warrior vehicle was blown up by an IED about 25 miles north of Bashkir Gash.

The Taliban announced last weekend its “spring offensive” had started with a series of bombings. The insurgents said they were running large parts of the country, publicising the case of a father who executed his 18-year-old daughter, on their orders, after she had run away from home.

Former Army chief of staff Lord Dennett told the BBC: “As in any cycle of conflict, there's invention and counter-invention. The Taliban have found a way of countering the protective qualities of the Mastiff.”

Cpl Savage's pregnant wife, Lindsey, said: “I have lost the love of my life and the father of our son.” The 21-year-old joined the Army in April 2003 and had previously completed tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Robin Lindsay, Pte Hetherington's commanding officer, said the 25-year-old had epitomised “everything that is excellent about the reserve forces”. The US-born soldier had enlisted in the Territorial Army in 2006 and hoped to attend Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. 

The Prime Minister David Cameron said that the country had paid a “very high price” for its work in Afghanistan, but maintained it was vital in making sure the country “doesn't again become a haven for terrorists”.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This incident demonstrates once again the dangers faced by our armed forces, often on a daily basis, and they deserve our deepest gratitude and respect for the job they do in some of the most difficult and trying circumstances imaginable.”

The deaths bring the total of UK military losses since 2001 to 444, at a time when UK forces have drastically scaled down operations with Afghans taking the lead. Commanders have become concerned that this has created a false sense of security for the public back home, especially with the onset of the fighting season.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee