AN Edinburgh-based soldier has died as a result of an “insider attack” at his base in Afghanistan.
The soldier, from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed yesterday while in Patrol Base Shawqat, in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province, a spokesman for Task Force Helmand said.
His next of kin has been informed.
It is only a matter of weeks since soldiers from the battalion were deployed to Helmand from the Capital’s Dreghorn barracks.
Major Laurence Roche, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “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”.
The insider attack takes to 438 the number of UK service members to have lost their lives since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.
The “green-on-blue” 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 – where Afghans turn their weapons on their coalition colleagues.
News of the killing came after the Queen led the nation in honouring the fallen yesterday, as the country fell silent to remember its war dead.
Soldiers from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 Scots), began leaving Dreghorn Barracks in mid-September for a six-month tour of the increasingly volatile area.
A total of 450 from 1 Scots are understood to have been deployed to Afghanistan.
Their mission is to mentor and train Afghan security forces prior to military withdrawal from the country planned for 2014. But just days before their deployment two British soldiers were killed by a man dressed in an Afghan soldier’s uniform who lured them into danger by faking an injury.
The battalion took over the duties previously performed by 3 Rifles, who are based at Edinburgh’s Redford Barracks.
Ahead of the deployment, commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wrench, 1 Scots, leader of the Brigade Advisory Group, said the battalion because they would be working so closely with the Afghan national army, they had focused on cultural understanding, or developing the soldiers’ ability to have a cultural empathy with the people they are working alongside.