London, June 9: Britain lost its 100th soldier in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion after a suicide attack killed three paratroopers.
The head of Britain's armed forces and the Defence Secretary insisted, however, that progress was being made in Afghanistan, and that the soldiers' deaths had not been in vain.
The trio who were killed were on a routine foot patrol about one kilometre (0.6 miles) west of their base in the restive Helmand province, when they suffered a "suicide explosive device", the Defence Ministry said.
"Four soldiers were injured in the attack and were evacuated to the medical facility at Camp Bastion," said a Defence Ministry statement.
"Sadly one soldier was pronounced dead on arrival and despite the best efforts of the medical team, two of the soldiers died as a result of their wounds," it said.
"A fourth soldier is currently receiving treatment for his wounds and is expected to make a good recovery."
Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said he hoped that the families of the 100 soldiers who had lost their lives would find comfort in the fact that "our forces are engaged in a most worthy and noble endeavour."
"Right across the country, the international effort is beginning to effect real change," he said.
The grim milestone came as an insurgent detonated a large device strapped to his chest when the three men were on a routine foot patrol near their base in Helmand province, The Telegraph reported.
The suicide attack was the most deadly attack on British forces this year and the biggest single loss of life suffered by troops in the country since August 2007, when three men from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment were killed when a US fighter dropped a 500lb bomb near their position.
All the British soldiers were part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, and belonged to the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
Britain has about 7,800 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, most of whom are in Helmand, where the Taliban militia have been waging a bloody insurgency since being ousted from power after the 2001 invasion.