Two more Royal Anglians die in war zone

David BaleTwo more soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - known as the Vikings - have died in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today.David Bale

Two more soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - known as the Vikings - have died in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today.

It comes a day after another Royal Anglian soldier died of injuries suffered in an explosion in Afghanistan three weeks ago.

All three soldiers were serving as part of the Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group.

The two soldiers died after an explosion north of the Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Monday. Next of kin have been informed.

There are currently 400 soldiers from the regiment, which recruits from the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, in Afghanistan, after they were deployed to the area in October. Their six month tour of duty is due to end next month.

The number of British military personnel killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 stands at 275.

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Alison Burgess, whose sons Daniel, 21, and Nicky, 23, are serving with the regiment in Afghanistan, runs the online support group, The Viking FSG (Viking Family Support Group) for the families of soldiers serving in the country.

She said: 'Everybody in the support group sends their love and support to the families of those involved. As families it's the news that everyone dreads.

'It's even worse as families had started the countdown to when their loved ones are coming home next month, and are looking forward to that, but then this happens.'

Lt Col David Wakefield, spokesman for the UK's Task Force Helmand in Afghanistan, said: 'It is with deep sadness I must inform you that a single IED (improvised explosive device) explosion... killed two British soldiers.

'The soldiers were approximately 20 kilometres to the north of Musa Qala District Centre and were part of an ongoing operation to clear insurgents from an area where, until recently, the insurgents had held sway.

'Their determined courage in the face of the danger from IEDs and the sacrifice they have made will not be forgotten.'

As reported, the soldier who died after an explosion three weeks ago was injured in a blast in the Musa Qala district on February 21.

A total of 26 UK service personnel have now been killed in Musa Qala since forces were first deployed there in 2006.

British forces first took Musa Qala in summer 2006 before pulling out in October that year under an agreement that local tribal elders would maintain security.

But the Taliban returned in force to reoccupy the town in February 2007. In December that year, UK troops went back in and drove out the insurgents after fierce fighting.

The MoD said none of the deaths was connected to Operation Moshtarak, a major offensive against the Taliban involving 15,000 Nato and Afghan forces, including 4,000 British personnel.

The Vikings are based in Pirbright, Surrey.