The men killed in Afghanistan. AP Photo/Iain Hamer/Crown Copyright/MOD 2012

Six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan

This brings the number of UK personnel killed in Afghanistan conflict to 400. But UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that morale remains high.

BRITAIN’S DEFENCE SECRETARY insisted today that the country’s troops are committed to their mission in Afghanistan, after the number of UK personnel killed in the conflict passed 400.

Ministers have expressed fears that the deaths of six soldiers killed when an explosion hit their armoured vehicle in the southwestern Helmand province on Tuesday evening would prompt new concern over the 11-year-long campaign.

The men were named as (pictured) Sergeant Nigel Coupe, Corporal Jake Hartley and Private Anthony Frampton, with (bottom row left to right on photo) Private Christopher Kershaw, Private Daniel Wade and Private Daniel Wilford.

The incident was the biggest loss of life for British forces in Afghanistan since a plane crash in 2006. It took Britain’s death toll in Afghanistan since 2001 to 404.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told ITV television:

The people on the ground are acutely conscious of the risks that they are running, but they are also incredibly proud of the job that they are doing and rightly so, and hugely satisfied by the level of public support that they have back home.

He said morale remains “extremely high, and it’s high because the servicemen and women there know that they are doing a job and are doing it well and that is their professional commitment to get that job done.”

Britain’s defense ministry named those killed as Cpl Jake Hartley, 20; Pvt Anthony Frampton, 20; Pvt Christopher Kershaw, 19; Pvt Daniel Wade, 20; Pvt Daniel Wilford, 21; and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33.

Hammond said that full details of the incident were not yet established, but that it appeared “a massive” roadside bomb had exploded and “had a catastrophic impact on the vehicle.”

Gen David Richards, head of Britain’s armed forces, acknowledged that the military is likely to suffer further losses before the end of the international mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

The attack is expected to lead to new calls to accelerate the planned withdrawal of all US-led coalition troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday he planned to discuss the drawdown in talks next week in Washington with President Barack Obama.

Read: David Cameron at loggerheads with military chiefs over Afghanistan troop withdrawals>

Associated Foreign Press
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