British soldier killed in Afghanistan

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A British soldier has been killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan after a gunbattle with insurgents. Two others have been injured.

The defence ministry says a group of British soldiers came under fire last night while on patrol in Helmand province.

The military says one soldier from Britain's 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was injured by a mine during the gunbattle.

After the battle a British vehicle leaving the scene was hit by an improvised explosive device. A second soldier from the same battalion was hurt and a third soldier from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was fatally wounded in the blast.

The military said today the wounded soldiers' injuries are not life-threatening.

Earlier this month, three British soldiers were seriously injured after a "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan.

The MoD said a British Apache aircraft fired on a position which was thought to be held by enemy forces, but instead injured members of a British ground patrol.

Three were seriously wounded and six more were classified as walking wounded after the incident in Helmand province, the MoD said.

Gordon Brown told the Commons earlier this month that he would not set an "artificial timetable" for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

But he said Afghan forces would take over "more and more responsibility" for security as their capability improved.

Mr Brown said Afghanistan was the "front line against the Taliban" and since coalition intervention there had been a 25% fall in infant mortality.