Three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Three soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan as a result of an "enemy explosion" on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, AP reported.

"It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence has to announce the deaths of three soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles," it said in a statement, adding that their next of kin had been informed.

The soldiers were killed during an escort operation in the Gereshk district of Helmand province, where the Taliban militia has been waging a bloody insurgency.

A response helicopter was called out, but the soldiers were pronounced dead by military doctors.

Their deaths bring to 11 the total number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year, and 148 since the US-led invasion of the country in late 2001.

"Today has been incredibly sad for the whole of Task Force Helmand, and particularly for The Rifles," said Commander Paula Rowe, spokesperson for Task Force Helmand.

"We will all feel the loss of these brave soldiers, whose role was to build the capacity of the Afghan National Army."

Britain has about 8,300 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, most of whom are serving in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.

After the United States, Britain is the second biggest troop contributor to a multinational NATO-led force helping Kabul fight Taliban-led insurgents and establish its authority.

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