Page last updated at 22:52 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan bomb attack

British troops in Afghanistan
More than 100 British troops have died in Afghanistan this year

Two British soldiers have been killed by a suspected suicide bomber while on patrol with the Afghan army.

The men, from the 3rd Battalion, The Rifles, were caught in the blast near Sangin in Helmand on Tuesday afternoon. Their families have been told.

They were on foot at the time of the explosion, which also killed two Afghan army soldiers.

A total of 239 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001, including 102 so far this year.

The soldiers were on a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army and the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force.

'Deep sadness'

The bomber is not believed to have been a member of the Afghan army.


British forces spokesman in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Colonel David Wakefield, said: "It is with deep sadness I must inform you that two British soldiers were killed this afternoon near Sangin in northern Helmand province.

"They were both from 3rd Battalion, The Rifles. They will be sorely missed by us, their comrades, but their sacrifice will not be forgotten."

The deaths came on the day the body of the 100th British fatality in Afghanistan this year, Lance Corporal Adam Drane, was returned to the UK.

They also coincided with a government announcement of defence cuts to help fund military resources for Afghanistan, including the purchase of 22 new Chinook helicopters.

The first of 500 extra British troops to be deployed to Afghanistan have also arrived in the country.

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