Two British soldiers shot dead in southern Afghanistan

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KABUL: Two British soldiers were shot and killed in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, the British Ministry of Defence confirmed on Thursday.

The Ministry said the soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment were killed while on an operation in the Nad-e Ali District of Helmand Province.

"The soldiers were patrolling an area in the north of Nad-e Ali District when they were hit by small arms fire from which they both subsequently died," said Task Force Helmand spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman. "Both soldiers were engaged in vital work bringing stability, governance and development to an area that had been dominated by insurgent intimidation. They have given their lives fighting oppression and protecting those less able to protect themselves; we will never forget them."

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also confirmed the casualties but provided no further information about the attack. The families of the victims have been informed.

Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eventually declared that the attacks of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people from scores of countries, was considered an attack on all NATO nations. The NATO-backed war in Afghanistan aims to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country.

So far this year, more than 40 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most troops are killed in the country's south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians.

(BNO NEWS )

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