Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Gurkha killed in Helmand named

Colour Sgt Dura
The battalion has suffered its second death in just over two weeks

A Nepalese Gurkha killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan has been named as Colour Sgt Krishnabahadur Dura.

The 36-year-old father-of-two, from 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was from Lamjung District, western Nepal.

Colour Sgt Dura died when the Warrior vehicle in which he was travelling struck an explosive device in Helmand province on Saturday.

The blast was the first fatal attack on a Warrior in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said.

His death in Musa Qala, Helmand, takes the number of UK troops killed in Afghanistan since the launch of operations in 2001 to 125.

Colour Sgt Dura enlisted in the Army in 1992 and served on operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor and twice in Sierra Leone.

He was rated as one of the Army's best snipers and was undertaking his third tour to Afghanistan when he was killed.

Lt Col Chris Darby, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, described Colour Sgt Dura as "an exceptional soldier, a gifted leader and consummate professional".

'Bold and noble'

He said: "Intelligent, hard and totally committed, I knew that whatever the challenge I could turn to Colour Sgt Dura and have absolute confidence in his ability to deliver.

"His knowledge of his trade and of his men was without parallel, and the team he forged based on this knowledge and his own commitment was second to none."

He said Colour Sgt Dura's snipers were, and continued to be, one of the battalion's "most potent capabilities".

"Their strengths are due almost entirely to his own ability as a soldier, a leader and commander.

His courage, dedication and determination were inspirational for others, who would push themselves beyond their limits for him
Maj Shivakumar Limbu

"I was extremely proud to have known this bold and noble man and will miss him. He will not be forgotten."

Maj Shivakumar Limbu added: "His courage, dedication and determination were inspirational for others, who would push themselves beyond their limits for him. He always placed his heart and soul into all that he did for his team and regiment.

"He always had a smile on his face and was a really pleasant personality to work with. He was a truly model Gurkha senior NCO with masses of experience."

Defence Secretary John Hutton praised Colour Sgt Dura's courage.

He said: "It is clear that Colour Sgt Dura served with professionalism and courage and was wholly committed to his mission; he was helping Afghanistan and the cause of wider security.

"My thoughts are with his family, friends and fellow Gurkhas at this sad time."

The soldier's death is the second from the battalion in just over two weeks.

Rifleman Yubraj Rai, 28, was killed on 4 November when his patrol was attacked, also in Musa Qala.

Britain has about 8,000 troops in Afghanistan. It is the second-largest contributor of foreign forces in the country after the United States.

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