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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Three soldiers die in Afghanistan
British troops in Helmand

Three British soldiers have lost their lives after separate attacks in Afghanistan, the MoD has said.

Officials had already announced the death of a soldier in a mine explosion in Helmand province.

They later said a soldier had been killed and another seriously injured by insurgents at 0800 local time.

Then it became clear a soldier from 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, who was involved in an incident on Friday, had died from his injuries.

British forces were involved in two separate engagements with insurgents in northern Helmand on Wednesday in addition to the mine explosion which also injured six other soldiers, five seriously.

In the third attack a UK soldier was "very seriously wounded" and one other received serious injuries, the MoD said.

Drug lords

About 4,000 UK troops are in Helmand as part of a Nato peace keeping force.

The area is where most of Afghanistan's opium production is concentrated, and sees regular deadly violence blamed on Taleban fighters or drug lords.

The total number of UK troops killed while on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 now stands at 40.

The MoD said the injured were being treated at a military medical facility at the main British base in Helmand, Camp Bastion.

Members of the family of the soldier injured during an attack by insurgents on Friday were with him when he died, the MoD said.

That incident also claimed the life of Ranger Anare Draiva, 27, a Fijian serving with the British army.

The mine exploded at around 1220 local time.

A statement from the headquarters of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Kabul confirmed seven soldiers were injured.

A security patrol had strayed into an unmarked minefield.

"There was no contact with insurgents during the incident," it said.

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