Bradford community leaders pay tribute to soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Floral tributes outside the Yorkshire Regiment’s Warminster barracks Floral tributes outside the Yorkshire Regiment’s Warminster barracks

Community leaders in Bradford have paid tribute to six soldiers who have died in the single worst enemy attack on British troops of the Afghan campaign.

The servicemen were on patrol yesterday when their Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle was caught in an explosion in Helmand.

It takes the total number of British forces killed on operation to more than 400 since the US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The servicemen, five from the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, were struck around 40km north of Lashkar Gah.

Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe called for an inquiry into the incident.

He said: “It is terrible news and obviously our hearts go out to the families.

“It is tragic news for them as individuals to be killed in that way but the for the friends and family as well, it shows you what people are doing, risking their lives to defend what we all hold dear.

“I think there has to be an inquiry into what has happened because the Warriors are strong vehicles and for that to be blown up, we need to find out what’s happened and the circumstances.

“It’s difficult and you always have to query things when something like this happens, but they are doing the right things, they are trying to bring democracy to Afghanistan and they are doing their duty.

Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins said: “I am absolutely devastated by this news.

“As a former member of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, I was invited to have lunch with officers of 3 YORKS only two weeks ago in advance of their departure to Helmand.

“The loss of five men, together with a colleague from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, is a devastating blow to everyone out there.

“My sympathies go out to them all and, most importantly, the families of those brave soldiers who have lost their lives serving our country.

“Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Bradford East MP David Ward said: Can you imagine what the families must be going through?

“We tend to have periods when you don’t really hear much, it’s off the news because of other things, but then when you hear of things like this it just brings back the stark reality of what these people are going through.

“To many people who fortunately do not have family over there, you go two or three weeks without hearing anything and something like this happens and you realise there countless families really that every single day are dreading a phone call or a call to the door and it brings home the terrible tragedy of the whole campaign.”

Mr Ward said while he agreed British troops were required to stay in Afghanistan until the planned withdrawal date in 2014, he criticised the decision of fighting on two fronts while troops were also stationed in Iraq.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the news was a "desperately sad day for our country".

Speaking in Downing Street, he said: "It is a reminder of the huge price that we are paying for the work we are doing in Afghanistan and the sacrifice that our troops have made and continue to make.”

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