Six British soldiers missing presumed dead in Afghanistan


Six British soldiers are missing believed killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said Wednesday, taking the British death toll in the country over 400. The ministry said an explosion had hit the soldiers’ Warrior armoured vehicle on Tuesday while they were on patrol in Helmand, the restive southern province where most British troops are based. “I have the tragic duty to report that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, during a security patrol,” said British spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie. The servicemen’s families have been informed, the ministry added. A military source in Afghanistan told AFP that the possibility that the vehicle had hit a Soviet-era mine had not been ruled out.
Prime Minister David Cameron described it as a “desperately sad day for our country”. “Every death and every injury reminds us of the human cost paid by our armed forces to keep our country safe,” Cameron told parliament. “Our mission in Afghanistan does remain vital to our national security,” he continued. “We’re there to prevent that country from being a safe haven to Al-Qaeda, from where they might plan attacks on the UK or our allies.” Before the explosion, a total of 398 British forces personnel had died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001. If confirmed, the deaths would be the biggest British loss of life in a single incident in Afghanistan since a Nimrod aircraft crashed in 2006 after leaking fuel made contact with a hot air pipe, killing 14 crew.