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Army suffers first 2011 fatality in Afghan blast

The first British fatality of the new year has taken place in Afghanistan after a soldier was killed in an explosion during an operation in Helmand province.

The serviceman, from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, died near Nahr-e Saraj on New Year’s Day in a mission against Taliban fighters infiltrating the district.

The death brings the number of UK service personnel killed since 2001 to 349. This latest death follows that of Warrant Officer Class 2 Charlie Wood, of the 23 Pioneer Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, who was killed in an explosion on December 28 in Lashkar Gar, the Helmand provincial capital.

Nahr-e Saraj has been the setting for a number of drives in recent months against insurgents, including the first operation led by the Afghan army.

Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “The soldier was working in an area to the south of the Nahr-e Saraj district when he was caught in an explosion.

“He was part of an operation aiming to bring peace... to the people of a former insurgent haven.”

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