British death toll in Afghanistan reaches 300

The British death toll in Afghanistan has reached 300, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

London: The British death toll in Afghanistan has reached 300 after a Royal Marine died of injuries sustained in an explosion earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

The soldier from 40 Commando Royal Marines died in New Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, on Sunday. He had been caught in an explosion in the Sangin District of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan on June 12.

"His courage and sacrifice will not be forgotten. We will remember him," said military spokesman Major Renny Bulmer.

Britain has 9,500 troops serving in Afghanistan, the second-largest foreign contingent although small compared to the United States` force of 100,000.

But the rising British death toll has sapped support for the mission at home after little tangible progress in the nine-year campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron said British soldiers would leave the country once Afghans could defend themselves.

"We are paying a high price for keeping our country safe, for making our world a safer place," he said.

"We are there because the Afghans are not yet ready to keep their own country safe and to keep terrorists and terrorist training camps out of their country.

"But as soon as they are able to take care and take security for their own country, that is when we can leave."

Military deaths in the country have soared in the past two years as British forces battled resurgent militants in Helmand, with more than 100 fatalities in 2009 alone.

Bureau Report