THE British Army has now suffered more deaths in Afghanistan than in Iraq.The grim landmark came with the loss of six soldiers yesterday – five slaughtered in one devastating ambush. A total of 184 UK military personnel have fallen fighting the Taliban, passing the 179 who perished battling Saddam Hussein and insurgents.

The ambush happened in the early hours, near the Helmand hotspot of Sangin. Taliban fanatics used a small “come-on” explosion to draw a British unit on a routine night patrol towards a huge bomb.It was detonated as the troops, from 2nd Battalion The Rifles, grouped together, military sources revealed.

The attack was the worst single incident the Army has suffered in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled by US-led allied forces in 2001. The sixth soldier to die yesterday was from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment. He was blown up by a roadside bomb while travelling on a Viking tracked vehicle.

The much-criticised machines are currently being withdrawn because they cannot withstand blasts from the Taliban’s improvised devices.
The families of all six dead soldiers were being informed last night.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defence announced that two troops were killed on Thursday in the ongoing Operation Panther’s Claw offensive against the Taliban.