Second UK soldier killed in one week by Taliban

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A second soldier has been killed in Afghanistan this week, the Ministry of Defence said last night.

The soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed during an operation to disrupt insurgent activity in Helmand Province and is the 419th member of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001. His family has been told.

The death was announced after the MoD named a soldier killed in a grenade blast on Wednesday as Lance Corporal James Ashworth from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Ian Lawrence said: “It is with deep sorrow that I must confirm that a soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment has been killed by enemy action whilst deployed on operations in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province.

“The thoughts of all within Task Force Helmand are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

The death was just two days after L/Cpl Ashworth was killed in a grenade blast while on patrol in the north of Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand Province on Wednesday. He died despite receiving immediate medical treatment.

Yesterday the family of the 23-year-old from Kettering, Northamptonshire, said: “We are devastated by the loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend.

“He meant the world to everyone and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts.”

L/Cpl Ashworth’s father Duane served as a Grenadier Guard and his brother Coran, 21, is with the Army in Northern Ireland.

Captain Mike Dobbin, Commander of Reconnaissance Platoon, Nijmegen Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: “L/Cpl Ashworth was killed while fighting his way through compounds, leading his fire team from the front, whilst trying to protect his men and he showed extraordinary courage to close on a determined enemy.

“His professionalism under pressure and ability to remain calm in what was a chaotic situation is testament to his character.

“L/Cpl Ashworth was a pleasure to command and I will sorely miss his calming influence on the battlefield. Softly spoken, he stepped up to every task thrown in his direction.”

L/Cpl Ashworth joined the Army at the age of 17 and completed a stint of ceremonial duty in London after joining Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards. He spent three years with the Guards’ Parachute Platoon, part of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, deploying in Afghanistan with them. He had recently been promoted to the role of non commissioned officer.