Mar. 7 - Six British soldiers are killed in Helmand province, the biggest single loss of life for British troops in Afghanistan since 2006. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Six British soldiers were killed when their armored vehicle was hit by an explosion in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan Wednesday. The attack, on Helmand's border with the unruly Kandahar province, marked the biggest single loss of life for British troops in Afghanistan since 2006. An Afghan commander described what happened. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) MAJOR RAM ALI AFGHAN COMMANDER SAYING: "As you see Taliban placed a mine here. When the British convoy passed, the mine went off. As a result of the explosion there were some causalities to the British army. We spent the whole night here to assist the British soldiers in evacuating their wounded soldiers and the destroyed car. The fighting right now is going on because the Taliban have stolen three civilian cars. We launched an operation and rescued all three civilian cars from Taliban hands." British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the attack in Parliament. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON SAYING: "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these brave servicemen. This would be the largest loss of lives in a single incident in Afghanistan since 2006. It takes the overall number of casualties that we have suffered in Afghanistan to over 400. Every death and every injury reminds us of the human cost paid by our Armed Forces to keep our country safe." Britain is the second largest contributor to the NATO-led war after the United States. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) MAJOR RAM ALI AFGHAN COMMANDER SAYING: "Our mission in Afghanistan does remain vital to our national security. We are there to prevent that country from being safe haven for al-Qaeda from where they might plan attacks on the UK or our allies. Our task is simple, is to equip the Afghan government and the forces of Afghanistan with the capability and the capacity to take care of their own national security without the need for foreign troops on their soil. That is our aim." Britain has about 9,500 soldiers in Afghanistan, a number due to be reduced in phases as it ends combat operations over the next two years. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters