Afghan government praises dead British soldier

June 4, 2012 - 10:27 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government on Monday praised a British soldier who was killed by militants during a successful mission to rescue a kidnapped Afghan police officer.

The policeman was abducted Sunday evening from a checkpoint in southern Helmand province's Nahri Sarraj district, said the provincial governor's office.

British forces recovered the kidnapped policeman, but one of their soldiers was killed and another wounded, the U.S.-led NATO coalition said, without providing further details.

Helmand Governor Gulab Mangal offered his condolences for the death of the British soldier and said local residents would never forget the sacrifices of British forces.

The death increased the number of British personnel to die in Afghanistan since 2001 to 417. Britain has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, most of them in Helmand.

The insurgents who killed the British officer during the rescue mission managed to escape, NATO said. Security forces seized explosives, documents and one of their mobile phones.

Britain's military said Sunday that a U.K. soldier was shot to death by insurgents in Nahri Sarraj district. The British Ministry of Defense declined to provide the circumstances surrounding the death of the soldier from 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, until his family had been offered a more detailed account.