Irish Guardsman Dies In Afghan Firefight

The Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson has this morning expressed his sympathy to the family of a soldier from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards who has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that he was shot in an ambush while patrolling in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province yesterday afternoon.

The soldier was mentoring an Afghan National Army patrol, the MoD said in a statement. A spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, said: "In carrying out this crucial role he gave his life so that others might hope for a better future. Our thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this deeply sad time."

His family has been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.

The death brings the number of UK servicemen and women to have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 345.

Commenting Mr Robinson said: "I am deeply saddened by this news and send my sincere sympathy to this brave soldier's family.

"This soldier was playing a vital role in skilling and equipping the Afghan army. It is only when the Afghan forces are fully trained that our soldiers will be able to safely withdraw.

"Sadly this young life has been sacrificially lost in the process of helping to rebuild and normalise Afghanistan," he said, noting, that "our thoughts are with our other troops serving in Afghanistan both in the Irish Guards and also the Royal Irish Regiment.

"We are mindful that many of these soldiers are from Northern Ireland," he concluded, and noted that both he and East Belfast MLA and Junior Minister Robin Newton had visited the Battalion at their Victoria Barracks in Windsor ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan in July.

Just days ago, Co Londonderry Ranger Aaron McCormick of the Royal Irish Regiment, was killed on Remembrance Sunday in a blast as he worked to clear roadside bombs.

See: Tragic RIR Soldier Honoured In Commons


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