Killed soldiers set to be named

The identities of two soldiers who were killed in southern Afghanistan are expected to be released by defence officials later.

The servicemen died of injuries sustained by enemy action in two separate incidents in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

Their deaths came in the space of 48 hours and bring the number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 to 424.

The first solider, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, was injured on Thursday while on patrol before dying later in the day, the Ministry of Defence said.

The second serviceman, from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 26 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died yesterday after being injured while undertaking a construction task.

Task Force Helmand spokesman Major Ian Lawrence said of the first death: "It is with great sadness I must inform you that a soldier from 3rd Battalion The Rifles has died as a result of injuries sustained whilst on patrol in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

"The thoughts and prayers of all in the Task Force are with his family and friends at this tragic time."

He said of the second death: "It is my sad duty to inform you that a soldier from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 26 Engineer Regiment, has been killed as a result of injuries sustained by enemy action whilst on duty in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.

"The death of this brave engineer will be felt deeply by his family, friends and all those who served alongside him. We extend our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers to them at this difficult time."

The soldiers' families have been informed and will be given a 24-hour period of grace before details are released. The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) yesterday said three US soldiers were killed in an incident in south-west Afghanistan by "an individual wearing Afghan uniform".