Second female British soldier killed in Afghanistan

Captain Lisa Head was hit by an explosive device she was trying to disable.

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 16:47 PM IST

London: A second female British soldier has been killed in the Afghanistan campaign, after she was hit by an explosive device she was trying to disable.

Captain Lisa Head was working in an alley frequently used by Afghan and international troops in the restive southern Helmand Province when she was hit, the Ministry of Defence announced on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old deployed with her team to the Nahr-e Saraj district to dispose of an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been found. After rendering the bomb safe, Head was fatally injured while dealing with a second one.

The captain, from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, was airlifted to the military hospital in Britain`s main Camp Bastion base.

She was then flown to a specialist military hospital in Birmingham, central England, but died on Tuesday.

"We owe a great debt of gratitude for her bravery and her commitment in her professional role, and for the sacrifice she has made to defend our national security," Defence Secretary Liam Fox said.

The death brings to 364 the number of British troops killed since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Of these, at least 319 were killed through hostile action. Head is the 16th to die this year.

From Huddersfield in northern England, she deployed to Afghanistan on March 27.

"We are extremely proud of Lisa," Head`s family said in a statement.

"Lisa always said that she had the best job in the world and she loved every second of it. Lisa had two families -- us and the Army. Lisa had a fantastic life and lived it to the full."

She had passed through the elite Sandhurst military academy, where Princes William and Harry trained, and served with distinction in Northern Ireland.

The first female British soldier killed in the Afghanistan operation was Corporal Sarah Bryant, 26, from the Intelligence Corps.

She and two male colleagues were killed east of Lashkar Gah in Helmand in June 2008 when the vehicle they were travelling in was caught in an explosion.

Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan.

They are based in central Helmand, battling Taliban insurgents and training up local security forces.

Bureau Report