Senior British commander killed in Afghanistan
A roadside bomb killing one of the most senior British army officers in Afghanistan has dealt a huge personal blow to the forces stationed in the troubled country, reported Press TV.
The British Ministry of Defense announced that lethal incident happened when the bomb struck the commander's Viking armored tracked vehicle in Helmand province.
The Viking, which has proved vulnerable to Taliban roadside bombs, was blown up about five miles north of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, according to Times Online.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, 40, who died alongside another British soldier, Trooper Joshua Hammond, 19, became the highest-ranking officer to die in combat since the Falkland Islands war with Argentina in 1982.
"The deaths...are a devastating blow to the Welsh Guards Battle Group and to the army as a whole," General Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the general staff, head of the British army, said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Six British soldiers were also seriously wounded in the attack. The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured soldiers are said to be in critical condition.
At least 171 members of the British military have died since the start of US-led military operations in Afghanistan in 2001, according to an official figure.
The attack occurred in the volatile region where US forces have launched a major anti-Taliban offensive.
Operation Khanjar (Strike of the Sword) into lower Helmand River involves nearly 4,000 US-led forces as well as 650 Afghan soldiers.