UK soldier killed in Afghanistan named by MoD

Lance Corporal Gajbahadur Gurung
Image caption Lance Corporal Gajbahadur Gurung was born in Majthana, Nepal

A British soldier shot dead in Afghanistan has been named as Lance Corporal Gajbahadur Gurung by the Ministry of Defence.

The soldier, from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was shot on Friday in the Khar Nikah area of Helmand.

Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie said he was "fatally wounded in an insurgent attack while on a foot patrol to disrupt insurgent activity".

British military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 now stand at 397.

L/Cpl Gurung, 26, was born in Majthana, Nepal. He joined the Brigade of Gurkhas on 18 December 2004 at British Gurkhas Pokhara, Nepal.

He served three times in Afghanistan during his military career.

His Company were responsible for holding the contested area north east of Helmand's second city, Gereshk.

On the afternoon of 27 January, L/Cpl Gurung's patrol came under small arms fire and he was fatally wounded.

He leaves behind his wife Manisha, father Gum Bahadur, mother Lekh Maya, his brother Buddha and sister Junu.

Lieutenant Colonel Dan Bradbury, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, said L/Cpl Gurung "touched so many lives for the better".

'A true Gurkha'

He added: "His peers in Delhi Company and all of us in the chain of command knew him as an intelligent, charismatic and inquisitive natural leader of men.

"Never one to let an opportunity go, he was constantly striving to know more, learn more and his ability to get on so well with the local people made him the natural choice to train the Afghan Local Police.

"He died as he lived - at the heart of the action, taking the fight to the enemy and resolute in the face of danger. He was a true Gurkha in body and spirit in everything he did."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, said: "I was very saddened to learn of the death of Lance Corporal Gajbahadur Gurung, a young soldier who achieved so much during his few years as a member of the British Army.

"He served three tours of Afghanistan, fighting to safeguard Britain's national security and to give Afghanistan a peaceful future.

"My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and colleagues."

Some 500 of around 9,500 British servicemen and women in Afghanistan are due to be brought home in 2012 and Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that more will leave in 2013.

He has said he wants British soldiers to end combat operations in the country by 2014.