British soldier slain in Afghanistan by enemy fire
A British soldier was killed by enemy fire on Wednesday in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the Ministry of Defense said.
The soldier was assigned to 1st Battalion The Rifles, the ministry said in a statement, and he died in an area northwest of Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand, CNN reported.
"He was taking part in an operation against enemy forces in the district of Nad-e-Ali," it said.
The soldier received immediate medical care at the scene and was airlifted to a hospital, but he later died.
The soldier's relatives have been notified and have asked to be allowed 24 hours before further details were released, the ministry said.
The death brings to 133 the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since military operations began there in October 2001.
The killing comes days after a visit to the country by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who announced Britain would help Afghanistan with upcoming elections and has offered to set up a task force to fight corruption.
Britain will give Afghanistan $10 million to help register voters for next May's election, Brown said Saturday.
"We will not allow the Taliban or terrorists to defy the democratic rule of the Afghan people and we will not allow the Taliban to use Afghanistan," he said.
Afghanistan was the original front in the war on the al Qaeda network launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. A U.S. invasion swiftly deposed the Taliban, the Islamic militia that had harbored al Qaeda, but the leaders of both movements escaped and remain on the run.
Nearly 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops are still in Afghanistan, with the Pentagon expected to shift another three U.S. brigades into the fight by summer. The war has cost the coalition at least 1,018 dead to date, including 624 Americans.