Two British soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan on Monday night, the Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday.
A third soldier is in a critical condition.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that UK forces have been involved in an incident in the Sangin Valley, during which we regret to confirm that two members of the UK armed forces have been killed in action.’
He added of the wounded man: ‘We believe the soldier’s injuries are not life-threatening at present.’
Sangin is in the southern province of Helmand, the scene of recent clashes between Taleban insurgents, puppet Afghan forces and mostly US foreign troops.
The UK troops were on a night patrol when they were attacked by Taleban militia.
A rocket-propelled grenade destroyed a vehicle and the two UK soldiers died in the ensuing fighting.
Helmand’s puppet police chief Nabi Mullahkhail claimed thirteen Taleban had been killed in fighting early on Tuesday and no Afghan troops were killed.
However, a spokesman for the Taleban said its fighters had killed a large number of foreign and Afghan troops in Helmand and destroyed three trucks carrying supplies.
Spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf, said the fighting went on for four hours.
Residents in the area reported heavy fighting including air strikes by foreign forces.
• Second News story
320 jobs to be axed at Lincolnshire NHS
Almost 320 more jobs are due to be axed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Announcing the cuts at a public consultation meeting yesterday, the Trust claimed 100 of the job cuts would come from agency staff as part of plans to tackle a £15m deficit.
Trade unions say another 300 jobs have already been lost in recent months through so-called natural wastage.
Local health authority officials also said they were considering ending maternity services and all surgery, apart from orthopaedic procedures, at Grantham Hospital.
The running of accident and emergency units at Skegness and Spalding could also be taken over by primary care trusts as part of the plans.
UNISON regional official Peter Savage said: ‘We are meeting with staff and local politicians and want to organise rallies and demonstrations against the cuts. Industrial action has not been ruled out, it is not our first step but we won’t rule it out.’
Amicus regional officer Steve Syson said: ‘Another 300 job cuts on top of the 300 already lost in Lincolnshire NHS over the last year really is catastrophic.’