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Six British Soldiers Confirmed Killed in Afghanistan


9:29am 7th March 2012
(Updated 6:03pm 7th March 2012)

Six British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, in what is the deadliest attack on UK troops since operations began there 11 years ago.

The group was travelling in Helmand when their armoured vehicle struck a mine.

The deaths have reignited calls for British troops to withdraw early.

Archbishop of York Statement:

“I am very saddened to hear the Ministry of Defence statement this morning that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, in an incident involving an explosion against an armoured vehicle on the 6th March 2012 in the Task Force Helmand Area of Operations. 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these servicemen at this difficult time.

“I understand 5 of those believed killed are from the Yorkshire Regiment. We hold daily prayers for this regiment in our chapel at Bishopthorpe – indeed earlier this morning we were praying for all those serving in the regiment. My heart goes out to those affected, we will continue to pray for you. We owe a debt of gratitude to our brave soldiers who are the best in the world.”

Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards said:

"I was deeply saddened by the news of this incident and that six soldiers are believed to have lost their lives doing what is a dangerous but important job.

"My thoughts and prayers at this difficult time are with the families of those affected by this tragic event.

"This campaign has seen many personal tragedies and we owe it to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to recognise that their courage and skill is visible in the ever more capable Afghan Army and Police.

"Increasingly the Afghans themselves are taking the lead in providing security across Helmand. This transition is allowing Afghans to gain the confidence to reject the Taliban and live normal lives.

"The courage, fortitude and determination of those servicemen and women currently in Helmand is inspirational. They have not once wavered but, every day, mix the professionalism of which we are all so proud with deep commitment and determination.

"The support shown by the public towards our men and women continues to be a source of great strength for the Armed Forces. They feel strongly that they are protecting us all through their service in Afghanistan."

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP said:

"This tragic incident brings home to us the dangers that are faced on a daily basis by the men and women of our Armed Forces deployed in Afghanistan. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the 6 soldiers who are missing, believed killed and also with their colleagues, both in Afghanistan and the UK, whose brave work continues or is about to start.

"I utterly condemn those responsible for this incident who will ultimately fail to derail a mission that is protecting our national security at home and making real progress in Helmand Province - a testament to the bravery, commitment and professionalism of our Armed Forces.

"We should never forget those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan to protect our national security.

"It is because of the continuing efforts of our Armed Forces, working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces, that we are on course to build an Afghanistan that can stand on its own two feet when UK combat operations cease at the end of 2014 and never again becomes a haven for international terrorism."

In response to news from Afghanistan, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP said: 

"This is a terrible tragedy which will bring profound loss to six families and real hurt to the whole country.   "The professionalism of UK service personnel is unmatched and their bravery is unending.  

"This tragedy underlines the daily dangers our Forces face and the importance of their role in stabilising a nation that can never again become an incubator for terrorism.  

"In our sadness it is still important to remember that this painful mission is in our country's national interest."

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