Gurkha soldier killed in accident in Afghanistan

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Kathmandu, Nov 17 (UNI) A Gurkha soldier from Lamjung district was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in struck an explosive device in Helmand district of Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said.

Krishna Bahadur Dura (36), who was killed on Saturday, was the second Nepali to be killed in less than two weeks time in Afghanistan. Earlier, one Yubraj Rai was also killed in November in another district of Afghanistan.

''Gurkha soldier Sergeant Krishna Bahadur Dura, from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, died when the Warrior vehicle he was travelling in struck an explosive device in the Musa Qala District of Helmand Province,'' ITN quoted the Defence Ministry, as saying.

Paying tribute to Dura, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, said, ''The Colour Sergeant Krishna was an exceptional soldier, a gifted leader and consummate professional.

''Intelligent, hard-working and totally committed, I knew that whatever the challenge, I could turn to C/Sgt Krishna and had absolute confidence in his ability to deliver it.

''His knowledge of his trade and of his men was without parallel and the team he forged was based on this knowledge and his own commitment was second to none.'' The Lt Col continued, ''Tightly knit, entirely upbeat and utterly professional, C/Sgt Krishna's snipers were, and continue to be, one of my most potent capabilities, and their strengths are due almost entirely to his own ability as a soldier, a leader and commander.

''He was a gifted leader; and he was a commander with the highest potential. I was extremely proud to have known this bold and noble man and will miss him. He will not be forgotten.'' Colour Sergeant Dura's death takes the number of British services personnel, killed in Afghanistan since operations began, to 125.

Nearly 3,500 Gurkhas are serving in the British Army at present.

About 230 Nepalese youths are recruited every year in the former colonial power, since the colonial time in India.

Nepalese, known as Gurkhas, have been serving in the British Army for nearly 200 years. More than 60,000 Gurkhas have lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. They have been serving in almost all the troubled parts of the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Folkland and Kosovo.

The Gurkhas have been fighting for equal rights in the British court. They are entitled for permanent resident visa after completing their services in the British Army.

However, this has seriously affected the economy of the Himalayan nation, as most of the Gurkhas stay in the UK after retirement.

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