A British soldier has been killed in the latest ‘insider attack’ by members of the Afghan security forces.
The solider, from 28 Engineer Regiment which is attached to 21 Engineer Regiment, was shot dead at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province yesterday. His family have been informed.
The death brings the number of British soldiers killed in ‘green on blue’ attacks - where Afghans turn their weapons on their coalition colleagues - to six in the current tour alone. So far at least 54 international troops have died as a result of such incidents.
No other British soldiers have been killed on the Herrick 17 tour, which began in October 2012, but the latest death means 439 UK service members have now lost their lives since operations began in Afghanistan in October 2001.
Announcing the latest death, the MoD said the soldier died as a result of small arms fire from a suspected member of the Afghan National Army, who turned his weapon on ANA and ISAF soldiers. He was killed by return fire.
Major Laurence Roche, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “It is my painful duty to report the death of a soldier from 28 Engineer Regiment, who was shot and killed by a suspected member of the Afghan National Army at a patrol base in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.
”This is an extremely sad day for the Corps of Royal Engineers and everyone serving with Task Force Helmand. Our thoughts are with the soldier's family and friends at this time.“
Yesterday's incident also comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai travels to America this week, where he is due to meet US President Barack Obama.
The Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack and the latest death will undoubtedly heighten fears that insurgents will capitalise on significant reductions in troops in Afghanistan.
Before Christmas, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs that nearly 4,000 British troops would be withdrawing from the country in April 2013, ahead of complete withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014.