Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 15:41 UK

Bomb squad soldier dies in blast

British forces in Afghanistan
Some 187 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001

A British bomb disposal expert has been killed while trying to defuse a homemade bomb in southern Afghanistan.

The soldier, from the Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, died after the blast in central Helmand province on Monday afternoon.

The family of the UK soldier - the 18th to be killed in Afghanistan this month - have been informed.

A total of 187 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.

'Not in vain'

The Ministry of Defence said the soldier was killed in an explosion as he attended to a roadside improvised explosive device (IED). A second soldier was injured in the same blast.

Lt Col Nick Richardson, spokesman for the UK's Task Force Helmand military operation in Afghanistan, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends so affected by this tragic event.

"The death of any comrade brings sadness to the task force but we are consoled by the fact that these deaths are not in vain."

A soldier killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Sunday has been named as Cpl Joseph Etchells.

Cpl Etchells, 22, from Mossley in Greater Manchester, served with 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

More foreign troops have been killed in July than in any other month since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.



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