Royal Anglian shot dead by the Taliban

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A soldier from the Royal Anglian regiment was killed in Afghanistan yesterday after being ambushed by the Taliban. The soldier, a member of the 1st Battalion's A-company, comprising troops from Norfolk and Suffolk, suffered gun shot wounds during an intense two-hour firefight while on patrol in the North West of Helmand Province.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A soldier from the Royal Anglian regiment was killed in Afghanistan yesterday after being ambushed by the Taliban.

The soldier, a member of the 1st Battalion's A-company, comprising troops from Norfolk and Suffolk, suffered gun shot wounds during an intense two-hour firefight while on patrol in the North West of Helmand Province.

He was airlifted by a Chinook helicopter back to the main British base at Camp Bastion but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The routine patrol came across a group of five Taliban setting up an ambush at 9.30am local time. Two other injured soldiers were also rescued during the attack.

An MOD spokesman said last night that no details about the dead man would be released until today at the request of his family.

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“The Taliban were engaged by the patrol during a firefight the patrol was engaged by a larger Taliban force using rockets and mortars,” he said. “It was quite a hot environment and it was during that time one of the men suffered serious gun shot wounds.

“They were engaged for over two hours and it's estimated that a significant number of the enemy were killed.”

In February defence chiefs announced that hundreds of soldiers from the eastern region were being sent to the strife torn southern Afghanistan it what commanders described as the most dangerous mission for years and 1st Battalion soldiers only arrived in the province at the beginning of the month tasked with bringing added stability and security to the area.

The death takes the toll of fatalities among British Forces personnel in Afghanistan to 53 since the start of operations in November 2001.

Of these, 31 were killed in action - including two who died as a result of injuries sustained in action - while 22 are known to have died either as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents.

The 1st Battalion, nicknamed The Vikings, has a long history of deployments in Northern Ireland and it served in Kabul in 2002 in the aftermath of the fall of the Taliban and Iraq last year.

The Royal Anglians, who are based in Pirbright Surrey took over from 42 Commando Royal Marines, which faced daily firefights with the Taliban.