Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 20:22 UK

UK soldiers die in Afghan blast

British troops in Afghanistan

Two UK soldiers have died in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

One of those killed was from the Light Dragoons, while the other served with the Parachute Regiment. Their families have been informed.

The soldiers were caught up in the blast on Saturday while on operation in Musa Qala, in Helmand province.

Their deaths bring the number of UK troops killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 165.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said colleagues felt a "numbness" at the loss of the soldiers.

"We grieve as the family, loved ones and colleagues grieve. They will always be in our thoughts and prayers and we offer our heartfelt condolences at this very sad time," he said.

The MoD said the two men, who were serving with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, died on Saturday morning.

'Brave warriors'

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Captain Mark Durkin Royal Navy said: "ISAF is mourning the loss of two respected colleagues.

"We pay tribute to the sacrifice of these brave warriors, who have given all whilst helping to provide a brighter future for the Afghan people."

The latest deaths follow those of L/Cpl Robert Richards, 24, of the Royal Marine Armoured Support Group and L/Cpl Kieron Hill, 20, of 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment last week.

L/Cpl Richards, from Betws-y-Coed in Conwy, north Wales, died at Selly Oak Hospital on Wednesday after being injured near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

L/Cpl Hill, from Nottingham, was killed in an explosion near Garmsir in Helmand on Thursday.

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