Soldiers died to save 'countless' innocent lives

The lives of countless innocent civilians were saved by the sacrifice of two British soldiers killed alongside two of their Afghan counterparts, their commanding officer said yesterday.

Lance Corporal David Kirkness, 24, and Rifleman James Brown, 18, of the 3rd Battalion the Rifles, were manning a checkpoint protecting the busy bazaar in Sangin, Helmand, when they were killed by a pair of suicide bombers on a motorcycle at a vehicle checkpoint.

Two members of the Afghan National Army were also killed and a further two suffered serious injuries in the attack on Tuesday.

The following day, their commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Nick Kitson and his Afghan counterpart Colonel Wadood walked through Sangin bazaar in an act of defiance.

"We both felt strongly the need to make sure the people understand the sacrifices being made by Afghan and British soldiers to protect them and to reassure them we will not be intimidated by such acts.

"We feel deeply the loss of our comrades, Afghan and British alike but had it not been for their courage and bravery the potential loss of civilian lives in the heart of the Sangin community can only be guessed at," said Lt Col Kitson.