Another British soldier killed in Afghanistan
LONDON (Reuters) - Another British soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday, the 176th British fatality since the war began and the seventh to die in a week.
The soldier from the Light Dragoons was killed near Gereshk in the southern Helmand province on Tuesday while taking part in a major U.S.-led offensive against Taliban strongholds.
"This soldier gave his life for the security of his own country and the freedom of the Afghan people; there is no greater sacrifice than this," said Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, the spokesman for Task Force Helmand.
On Monday, a British soldier died when a helicopter crashed on takeoff in southern Afghanistan, while three other troops were killed in explosion and rocket propelled grenade attacks at the weekend.
Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to be killed in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand.
Thousands of U.S. and British forces launched a large-scale operation in southern Afghanistan last week to try to drive the Taliban back and retake territory in the biggest offensive since U.S. President Barack Obama assumed office in January.
"There is of course gloom and worry back here in London with the numbers of people that we have lost. If people weren't, there would be something seriously wrong with them," Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth told BBC radio.
But he said there was a "real sense of momentum" out in Afghanistan and they were making progress.
"We have to have patience. We've got to get behind our people who are doing the job on our behalf.
"It's not going to be sorted out within the next few weeks or the next few months -- Afghanistan has been wrecked."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)
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