Royal Marine killed in Afghanistan blast
A Royal Marine has been killed by an explosion south of the Afghan capital Kabul, the Ministry of Defence says.
The marine was fatally wounded after the vehicle in which he was travelling was struck by the blast. Next of kin have been informed.
The death came as almost 1,000 Afghan and British troops carried out an offensive to secure three key transit routes in part of Helmand province.
The number of UK personnel killed in the country since 2001 stands at 392.'Great sadness'
An MoD spokeswoman said: "It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a Royal Marine was killed today, Thursday 22nd December.
"He was fatally wounded after the vehicle in which he was travelling was caught in an explosion."
The UK has announced it would invest in more lightweight armoured vehicles and new roadside bomb counter-measures.
The order for new kit in Afghanistan includes 100 more Foxhound protected patrol vehicles and £200m on new technology to counter roadside bombs.
The Foxhounds, which will be built in the UK, have an armoured hull and are replacements for the Snatch Land Rover, which were criticised for failing to offer enough protection.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron indicated he was planning a phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Some 500 are due to be pulled out next year, with more expected to follow in 2013.