London: Another two British soldiers have
died in Afghanistan, raising the military toll to 302 just one
day after the grim 300 milestone was reached, the Ministry of
Defence in London said on Tuesday.
Both men were in the 40 Commando Royal Marines and died
in the Sangin district of the southern province of Helmand,
where most of Britain`s 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are
deployed and battling Taliban insurgents.
One marine died in an explosion last evening, and the
other was killed in a firefight with insurgents today.
Commenting on the first death, military spokesman
Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith said: "He had recently
returned from a patrol when he was killed by an explosion.
"He had been improving the lives of local Afghans and
helping to protect them from the insurgency. He died a marine.
He will be greatly missed and his sacrifice will not be
forgotten. We will always remember him."
Carr-Smith also paid tribute to the second marine, who
was killed in a firefight while manning a fortified position
in the patrol base.
"He was involved in an exchange of fire with insurgents
when he was killed by small arms fire. He died a marine, in
the course of his duty and alongside his mates and Afghan
National Army partners," he said.
Yesterday the ministry announced the 300th military death
in Afghanistan since 2001, prompting Prime Minister David
Cameron to pledge to withdraw troops as soon as the war-torn
state can handle its own security -- but not before.
The landmark comes during a year which has already seen
the second-highest number of British fatalities since the
US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 -- 57 -- and amid signs
that most Britons want troops to be pulled out.
The death toll in Afghanistan has risen steadily since
2006 and the number of fatalities surged in 2009, when 108
troops died, many killed by makeshift bombs. The death toll
reached 200 on August 15 last year.