Soldier from Scots unit dies in Afghanistan roadside blast

A soldier from a Scottish unit has died in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the 20th UK serviceman to be killed in the region this month.

The soldier, of the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, attached to the Black Watch, died during a vehicle patrol in Helmand.

“He was one soldier, who was here for one cause: to help the Afghan people,” a Task Force Helmand spokesman said.

The death comes a day after the government announced it is to send 125 troops to Afghanistan to replace casualties. British forces are suffering one of their bloodiest months, including eight deaths on one day. Most were victims of roadside bombs.

Since the 2001 US-led invasion, 189 British soldiers have died, surpassing the number killed in Iraq since 2003. The head of the armed forces has warned that British troops faced more tough fighting – and more casualties – in the weeks ahead.

Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said soldiers taking part in Operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand faced an “enormous battle” to break through Taleban defences