The bodies of two more British soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been flown back to England. One soldier died when his vehicle was hit by a blast, the other was killed in an explosion while on foot patrol in the southern Helmand province. The latest deaths bring the total of dead to 22, the bloodiest month for the British military during the campaign.
Britain had earlier announced the end of the five-week Panther’s Claw offensive saying it had succeeded in driving militants out of popuation centres ahead of Afghan elections next month. More Western coalition troops have died in Helmand this month than in any other province over a similar period since the start of the eight-year war. Ballot boxes are being made ready in Kabul for the journey to some of Afghanistan’s remote provinces in time for the presidential and provicial vote. It’s the third time the country will go to the polls since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. The rough terrain, lack of administration and the fierce fighting in the south and the east are all causing a serious challenge to the election on August twentieth.