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Pictured: MOD names six soldiers killed in Afghan bomb blast

The Ministry of Defence has released the names of the six British soldiers who lost their lives in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

A statement on the minitry's website said: "It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the names of the six Service personnel missing, believed killed, in Afghanistan since Tuesday 6 March 2012.

"The soldier from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment is named as: Sergeant Nigel Coupe, aged 33. The five soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment are: Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 20, Private Daniel Wade, 20 and Private Daniel Wilford, 21"

Head of the Armed Forces has insisted that Britain's military strategy in Afghanistan will not change despite the deaths of soldiers who were killed in the deadliest single enemy attack on UK troops since the war began.

General Sir David Richards vowed the country would "hold its nerve" and continue combat operations in the region until the end of 2014 as the total number of British forces killed since the US-led invasion rose to more than 400.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the news marked a "desperately sad day for our country", while Labour leader Ed Miliband saluted "all of our fallen and those who continue to serve in the face of the gravest danger".

The Chief of the Defence staff also paid tribute to the "sacrifices" made by the Armed Forces, but warned of more deaths as Isaf allies enter the final stages of the decade-long rebuilding of Afghanistan that will see security responsibilities passed over to the Afghan Army and police.

Writing in The Times, General Richards said the progress made since entering the country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was "truly impressive" and vowed to continue the strategy and tactics employed by British troops.

"As progress continues the work of our servicemen and women will draw down but our efforts will endure," he said.

"Sadly as we hold that course it is likely that others will lose loved ones."

General Richards added he and his troops do not "underestimate the dangers" faced in Afghanistan, but understood "the importance of the mission with which we are charged". "We will hold our nerve," he added.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond reiterated that the UK would be sticking to its military plan, stating the strategy to find an "enduring solution" in Afghanistan was "demonstrably working".

"The shocking loss of British lives this week - the worst for many years - understandably raises questions about the continued presence of UK Forces in Afghanistan: about why we are there and what we are achieving?" he said writing in The Telegraph.

"I am clear about the answers: the mission is necessary for national security. The reinvigoration of campaign strategy in the past few years is achieving our aims - building the capability of the Afghan government to maintain its own security and by extension protecting ours. Walking away is not an option."

Mr Hammond said despite this week's tragedy, the overall trend of insurgent attacks and UK casualties was "sharply" down.

General Lord Guthrie, former Chief of the Defence staff, said it was important Britain avoided a knee-jerk reaction to the deaths by changing plans and speeding up the withdrawal of troops.

Moving scenes played out at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, Wiltshire, the home of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, yesterday as the tragic news broke.

Flowers and cards of condolences were left outside the entrance, while two uniformed soldiers relit a candle next to the barracks' gates, which was put in place when around 90 soldiers from the Corunna Company were deployed less than a month ago.

A service of "quiet contemplation" in memory of the soldiers was last night held at the Minster Church of St Denys in the old market and garrison town as flags flew at half mast.

Mayor of Warminster Pip Ridout said: "It's just a devastating day for the town, there's an aura of complete disbelief and silence everywhere".

Tuesday's deaths take the number of British fatalities to 404 since the start of operations in 2001.

They represent the biggest single loss of British military personnel in the country since an RAF Nimrod crash killed 14 people in 2006.

The aircraft blew apart as the crew tried to make an emergency descent to Kandahar airbase after a fire broke out on board, moments after mid-air refuelling.

A scathing review later accused the MoD of sacrificing safety to cut costs. In 2008 an inquest saw Coroner Andrew Walker conclude that the plane was not airworthy.

British forces suffered another major blow in 2009 when five members of 2nd Battalion The Rifles were killed in two separate explosions in Helmand in July.

In November that year, another five servicemen, three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police, died at the hands of a rogue Afghan policeman in Helmand's Nad-e'Ali district.


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