Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Probe into missing soldier's death

Prime Minister David Cameron abandoned part of a trip to Afghanistan so resources could be used for the search of the missing soldier

The military is investigating the death of a British soldier who was found dead with gunshot wounds after going missing from his checkpoint in southern Afghanistan.

The incident overshadowed an unannounced visit to the country by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: "This was very sad news and I want the thoughts and condolences of everyone on my team here to be with the family of that soldier who received this very sad news."

The soldier, from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was found after a massive manhunt. His family has been informed and he is expected to be named on Tuesday.

He had been reported missing from a military checkpoint in the early hours of the morning, and Taliban groups have claimed responsibility for killing him.

Nato spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick said: "He had suffered gunshot wounds. His exact cause of death is still to be established and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death are currently under investigation.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

The soldier is the British armed forces' 375th fatality during the decade-long campaign. The disappearance forced Mr Cameron to abandon part of an unannounced visit to the country so resources could be deployed to the search.

Mr Cameron, speaking at a press conference alongside President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Tuesday, said the incident was "a reminder of the high price that we have paid for the vital work we do in Afghanistan and in Helmand province".

But the Prime Minister insisted the campaign against the Taliban in Helmand province is having "success" and transition to Afghan security control is "on track".

Mr Karzai added: "I express my condolences on the very recent loss of a British soldier."

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