British soldier dead in fresh 'green on blue' attack

A British soldier died today after an ''insider attack'' at his base in Afghanistan, hours after forces gathered to remember fallen comrades at Remembrance Sunday services across the country.

The soldier, from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed in a "green on blue" attack while in Patrol Base Shawqat, in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

The gunman was wearing an Afghan army uniform. The soldier's next of kin has been informed, the Ministry of Defence said.

The death brings the number of British servicemen killed by Afghan soldiers or police to 12 this year, compared to just one in 2011, three in 2010, and five in 2009.

At least 54 international troops have died as a result of such attacks, in which Afghans turn their weapons on their coalition colleagues.
 

The death came hours after simple services were held in Kabul and at bases in Helmand, including at Camp Bastion and British headquarters in Lashkar Gah.

Major Laurence Roche, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said tonight: ''I am very sorry to report the death of a soldier from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who was shot by an individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform at his base in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

''This is incredibly sad news for the battalion and everyone serving in Task Force Helmand.

''As we mark Remembrance this weekend, our thoughts now turn to the soldier's family and friends whose loss is so much greater than ours."

A spokesman for the Nato-led coalition said: “An individual wearing Afghan army uniform turned against coalition members, killing one.

"We have not determined at this time if the shooter was an Afghan National Army member or an infiltrator. The shooter was wounded in an exchange of fire and is now in custody.”

Gen Syed Malook Safi of the Afghan army’s 215 Maiwand Corps said shooting had broken out after an argument between British and Afghan forces.

News of the killing came after the Queen led the nation in honouring the fallen today, as the country fell silent to remember its war dead.

In scenes replicated at memorials across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations, the monarch laid the first wreath at the Cenotaph to commemorate members of the Armed Forces who died fighting in all conflicts since the First World War.

Services to mark Remembrance Sunday were held across the country.

At Camp Bastion, the biggest British base in Helmand province, servicemen and women from the Army, Navy and Air Force gathered.

Lt Col Richard Parry, spokesman for British forces in the province, said: “They gathered to remember colleagues who have fallen. It was very simple service remembrance service.”

Members of the Afghan army and police also attended. There was also a wreath-laying ceremony at the British embassy in Kabul.

Britain has around 9,500 troops currently in Afghanistan, and the total will fall to 9,000 by the end of the year. A total of 438 British troops have died in the 11-year-long Afghan campaign, including 43 this year.

A significant pull out of British forces is expected to be announced early next year.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, confirmed today that “thousands” of troops would be withdrawing in 2013.

Britain, along with its Nato allies, has agreed to pull out all combat troops by the end of 2014, though a smaller deployment of military trainers and special forces are expected to remain.
 

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