Royal Anglian soldier dies in gun battle

A SOLDIER from the Royal Anglian Regiment has been killed in a gun battle with the Taliban - just days after arriving in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province.

A SOLDIER from the Royal Anglian Regiment has been killed in a gun battle with the Taliban - just days after arriving in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province.

It was the first casualty suffered on tour by the regiment's 1st Battalion, which recruits soldiers from Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

The Ministry of Defence said last night the dead man's next of kin had been told, but his name would not be released until later today.

The tragedy comes just months after 16 members of 16 Air Assault Brigade - which has its headquarters in Colchester - were killed during a troubled tour of the same region.

The soldier was returning with other members of A Company from a routine security reassurance patrol at around 9.30am local time yesterday , when they spotted a five-man Taliban team attempting to set up an ambush.

A fire-fight broke out, and the patrol was engaged by a larger Taliban force using mortars, 107mm rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and small arms, firing from several positions.

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The soldier received serious gunshot wounds and a Chinook helicopter, supported by an Apache attack helicopter, was called to evacuate him.

Under constant fire, the Chinook landed at the scene, while the Apache engaged with the Taliban forces.

The casualty was taken to the medical facilities at Camp Bastion, where despite the best efforts of medics onboard, he was pronounced dead.

The same patrol was later involved in fighting with another large Taliban force, lasting over two hours.

Two more soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as the Vikings, were wounded, and the two helicopters returned to rescue them. Their condition is not serious.

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