UK soldier dies during Afghan rescue mission


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The Independent Online

A British soldier has been killed in Afghanistan during a mission to rescue a senior police officer who had been abducted by the Taliban.

The soldier from 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, was hit by small arms fire during the operation in the Nahr-e-Seraj district of Helmand and died at the scene. A British comrade was also injured in the mission which successfully freed Abdul Walid. The death came just hours after a soldier from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh – who was killed in the same area – was named. Cpl Michael Thacker was shot while manning an observation post. The latest fatalities take the total number of UK deaths to 418.

The rescued policeman, Deputy Commander Abdul Walid, had proved effective against the Taliban, according to local officials. This made him a target for the kidnapping from a checkpoint near the village of Payan. He was freed after a siege and the storming of a compound by British and Afghan troops, but the insurgents managed to escape. It was while the militants were being pursued that the British soldier was reported to have been killed.

The office of the governor of Helmand, Gulab Mangal, issued a statement saying: " We praise the sacrifices and bravery of the British forces that they rescued an Afghan police officer and sacrificed themselves."