Six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan explosion
Most devastating single attack on British forces since Afghan operation began in 2001
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this item was posted, the six who died have been named as Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
THE TALIBAN bomb that killed six British soldiers travelling in a Warrior armoured vehicle last night was the most deadly enemy attack on UK troops since current operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.
The soldiers were travelling on a highway near Lashkar Gah when the roadside device took out the Warrior, causing ammunition on board to catch fire. According to eyewitnesses, the blaze continued all night.
The BBC reports that five of the soldiers were from the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one was from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
Lt Col Gordon Mackenzie, spokesman for the Helmand task force, said the six soldiers were part of a patrol just over the Helmand border in Kandahar province consisting of two Warrior armoured cars.
Sky News reports that this incident is the first time a Warrior armoured vehicle has been destroyed in Afghanistan.
Crispin Black, a former Welsh Guards officer who writes for The Week, said: “Casualties in Afghanistan in recent months and years have been sustained mainly in ones and twos. To lose so many men in a single incident is a tragedy for the British Army and the authorities will be keen to establish whether their deaths are the result of very bad luck - the fortunes of war - or whether this is a sign that the enemy has been able to create a much more lethal device with which to attack our forces.”
The deaths bring the total British death toll in Afghanistan since 2001 to 404 and represent the biggest single loss of life there since 2006 when a Nimrod aircraft crashed, killing 14.
At Prime Minister's Questions today, David Cameron told the Commons: "Every death and every injury reminds us of the human cost paid by our armed forces to keep our country safe."
Cameron will meet President Barack Obama in Washington next week - and the planned 'drawdown' of 30,000 US troops by September will be top of the agenda. There are fears in Whitehall that, with US numbers in decline, British troops will be left vulnerable to an upsurge in Taliban attacks in Helmand. It is thought that Cameron will seek assurances that the US drawdown will not be imprudent.
Robert Fox, commenting on the attack for the Evening Standard, said the bomb could have been made by Taliban fighters from commercial fertiliser with a simple electric trigger for as little as £10.
"That they could set this £10 bomb off on one of the most strategic and heavily patrolled roads in southern Afghanistan shows insurgents have a great deal of control of the most vital ground."