x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Six missing UK soldiers believed dead in Afghanistan

If confirmed, it would be the biggest loss of life for British forces in the country since a plane crash in 2006.

KABUL // Six British soldiers were believed killed after an explosion hit their armoured vehicle in south-western Afghanistan, Britain's defence ministry said yesterday. If confirmed, it would be the biggest loss of life for British forces in the country since a plane crash in 2006.

The soldiers were on patrol in Helmand province at the time of the blast on Tuesday. The military did not explain why they were unable to confirm whether the soldiers were killed.

"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," said the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, said. "My thoughts are with the families and friends of the six 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."

The deaths would be the worst loss of life for Britain in a single incident in Afghanistan since a Nimrod aircraft crashed in 2006, killing 14 service members. It would be the largest number of casualties in a ground operation for Britain in the country.

It would also be the deadliest single incident for Nato since January 19, when six US marines died in a helicopter crash in Helmand province. In August, insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 30 American troops.