UK bomb disposal soldier killed in Afghanistan

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The Independent Online

A British soldier has been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today.

The soldier, from the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, was killed on patrol in central Helmand yesterday afternoon.

His death takes the number of service personnel to be killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in 2001 to 187.

The soldier is the 18th to die in the country since the start of the month. Next of kin have been informed.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "The death of any comrade brings sadness to the Task Force but we are consoled by the fact that these deaths are not in vain.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends so affected by this tragic event."

* The latest death follows that of Corporal Joseph Etchells, who was killed in an explosion on Sunday morning.

Cpl Etchells, 22, from Mossley, Greater Manchester, died while on foot patrol in Sangin, in northern Helmand province.

The engaged father-of-one, who was serving with The 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was described by colleagues as an "outstanding soldier" and "a born leader" who "left a massive gap in the company which will never be filled".

* The son of a British Army general lost a leg in a blast in Afghanistan, it was reported today.

Captain Harry Parker, 26, is seriously ill in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham after suffering multiple injuries in the explosion, according to The Sun.

His father is Lieutenant General Sir Nick Parker, who is the Army's third most senior officer and will become Deputy Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan in September, the newspaper said.

Capt Parker was injured by a bomb as he led a foot patrol of the 4th Battalion The Rifles in Helmand on Saturday, it was reported.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on individual casualties."

The Army press office in Afghanistan and Selly Oak Hospital also refused to comment.

* Following are figures for foreign military deaths as a result of violence or accidents in Afghanistan since 2001:

Nato/US-led coalition forces:

Britain 187
Canada 125
Denmark 25**
France 28*
Germany 35
Spain 25
Netherlands 19
Italy 15
United States 747
Other nations 56

TOTAL: 1,262

** Figures supplied by Danish Central Command, includes one suicide.
* Figures supplied by French military.
Sources: Reuters/icasualties (
), compiled from official figures.