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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 15:13 GMT
Dead UK Afghanistan soldier named
Corporal Darryl Gardiner (Copyright: MoD)
Cpl Darryl Gardiner was pronounced dead at the blast scene
A British soldier killed in an explosion in Afghanistan has been named as Cpl Darryl Gardiner.

He was a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.

Cpl Gardiner, 25, from Wiltshire, was killed and five others hurt when their vehicle was hit by a mine strike near Musa Qala on Sunday.

His family said they were "deeply proud that Darryl served his country". The soldier leaves a girlfriend, Lucy.

Cpl Gardiner had been deployed in Afghanistan since October.

Disrupting enemy

Following Sunday's attack, all casualties were evacuated by helicopter to the International Security Assistance Force medical centres at Camp Bastion and Kandahar airfield.

The personnel were disrupting enemy forces and reassuring local Afghans when they were hit, the Ministry of Defence said.

Southern Afghanistan map

The town of Musa Qala was in the Taleban's hands until last month, when troops from the UK, US and Afghanistan recaptured it.

The insurgents reportedly withdrew, heading for the mountains, rather than fight street by street to retain control.

British troops are understood to have kept a small presence there, but the main defence of the town and the surrounding area is led by the Afghan army.

The Taleban had controlled Musa Qala since February, contravening a deal struck with tribal elders when UK troops withdrew.

The number of UK troops killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 now stands at 87.

A large number of international troops are fighting the Taleban-led insurgency in the south.

Attacks and roadside bombings against foreign soldiers are frequent.

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