LONDON, United Kingdom – Six British soldiers have been killed in southern Afghanistan after their armored vehicle was hit by an explosion.
The troops were on mounted patrol in the Gereshk district of Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device, or I.E.D., late Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
The families of the soldiers have been informed, the Agence France Presse reports. The deaths bring the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in 2001 to 404.
Speaking in Downing Street, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the news was a "desperately sad day for our country".
"It is a reminder of the huge price that we are paying for the work we are doing in Afghanistan and the sacrifice that our troops have made and continue to make," he added, according to The Guardian.
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Tuesday's attack is the biggest single loss of UK life in Afghanistan since a Nimrod crash killed 14 service personnel six years ago, according to the BBC.
The last British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan was Ryan Tomlin, a senior aircraftman with the Royal Air Force Regiment, who died from gunshot wounds in Helmand on February 13.
Last month the government said that British troops would end their lead combat role in Afghanistan by the end of next year, leaving Afghan security forces in sole charge of combat operations by the end of 2014.
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