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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 20:40 GMT
UK marine killed in Afghan clash
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A British Royal Marine has been killed and another wounded in a battle with the Taleban in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The battle came during an operation aimed at dislodging Taleban forces responsible for attacks on the village of Garmsir, a spokeswoman said.

She said the operation, which began at first light, achieved its aim.

Both men were airlifted to a military hospital, but one died. The second is said to be in a stable condition.

Brigadier Jerry Thomas, commander of the UK Task Force, said: "The thoughts and prayers of all the servicemen and women here in the UK Task Force are with the family and friends of the Royal Marine who lost his life."

'Hard blow'

He said those involved in the operation had "carried out their jobs with professionalism, dedication and bravery".

Lieutenant Colonel Andy Price, a spokesman for UK forces in Afghanistan, said the death was "a hard blow to all of the Marines".

He added that the overall operation - aimed at forcing back Taleban fighters who got close to the town centre - had been "highly successful" and commandos "have now pulled back into defensive positions".

Lt Col Price said: "We'll reassess and see how we take it forward in the morning but really that must play second fiddle today to the fact that we've lost one of our colleagues out here and we're all deeply, deeply upset by it."

Suicide bomber

The dead Marine, whose next of kin have been notified, is not expected to be named until Wednesday.

However, the MoD confirmed he was from 45 Commando, which is based at RM Condor in Arbroath, Scotland.

However, it would not say whether the serviceman was Scottish or not.

Earlier, a suicide bomber attacked a Nato convoy by driving a car laden with explosives into their vehicles in the Afghan city of Kandahar, officials said.

Nato officials said two civilians were reported to have been killed and least three others wounded, but no Nato personnel were injured.

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