Two Marines killed in Afghanistan (Afghanistan)
TWO Westcountry-based Royal Marines have been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence confirmed today.
The pair, from the Plymouth-based UK Landing Force Command Support Group, were taking part in a joint patrol with soldiers from Afghan security forces when their vehicle was struck by an explosive device in the Garmsir district of Southern Helmand yesterday afternoon.
A third Marine was seriously injured in the blast along with an Afghan soldier who later died from his injuries.
The injured Marine is currently being treated by medics at Camp Bastion.
The Marines were operating as part of Task Force Helmand's Information Exploitation Group, which is responsible for gathering information to improve situational awareness and to gain an advantage over enemy forces.
The incident happened at 4.47pm local time yesterday.
The Marines were on a routine patrol and the cause of the explosion is not yet known.
Western Morning News reporter Lyn Barton, who is currently at Camp Bastion, said the marines were travelling in a Jackal all-terrain vehicle operating out of Forward Operating Base Dwyer - one of two in the area.
She said: "It's not known what caused the explosion yet but the type of explosive device could have been an improvised explosive device or possibly a mine.
"It's unlikely to have been an anti-personnel mine, it's more likely to have been an anti-tank mine.
"All the flags are flying at half-mast here. It is pretty sombre - people know what has happened. They have seen the flags and are aware that people are down."
Commander Paula Rowe, of Task Force Helmand, said: "This is a tragic blow to us all in the task force, but our loss is nothing compared to that of their families and loved ones.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time."
Next of kin have been informed.
Brigadier General Richard Blanchette of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to their family, friends and fellow soldiers.
"Their lives are irreplaceable to all of us who fight for the peace and stability of Afghanistan."
The soldiers' next of kin asked for a 24-hour period of grace before more information is released, the MoD said.
The deaths bring the number of British services personnel killed in Afghanistan since operations began to 124.
Von: 13.11.2008, www.thisiswesternmorningnews.co.uk