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Afghan deaths reaches UK toll in 1982 Falklands war

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 8, IRNA -- Britain’s death toll in Afghanistan has become equal to the bloodiest conflict suffered by UK troops since World War II following the killing of two more soldiers in Helmand province.

The latest two British victims were killed in an explosion while on foot patrol near Sangin, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London announced Monday.

The deaths bring the toll of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001 to 255, the same number that died in the 1982 war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands, but which lasted only 74 days.

In Afghanistan, the number of casualties have mounted since British troops were deployed in Helmand province in 2006, with fatalities rising to 108 last year, more than double the 51 killed in 2008 and up from the 42 victims in 2007 and 39 in 2006.

The latest deaths in the Sanqin region comes after four were killed in the region last month and another five in December.

The MoD said the soldiers killed in the explosion were not involved in Operation Moshtarak, a major Nato-led offensive being launched against the Taliban with the support of US troops, which is due to get under way shortly.

It is expected to be one of the largest counter-insurgency operations since the Afghan conflict began in 2001 and aims to clear fighters from the southern Helmand town of Marja.

Reports have suggested that British troops may be on the verge of leaving such government outposts as Sangin in Helmand province as thousands of American reinforcements pour into Afghanistan.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 950867



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