The second British Army Gurkha in less than a month has been killed in Afghanistan. He is the second Gurkha to be killed in Afghanistan.

It is the first time a British soldier has been killed inside a British Army Warrior vehicle in Afghanistan, meaning that the Taliban are using bigger and deadlier bombs to take on the British.

Second Gurkha dies on duty in Afghanistan after roadside bomb rips through Warrior fighting vehicle

By Jerome Starkey
16th November 2008
Daily Mail

Fearsome: British Army Gurkhas with their deadly Kukri knives

The second Ghurkha soldier in less than a month has been killed in Afghanistan after a massive roadside bomb tore through his 25-ton Warrior fighting vehicle.

It is the first time a British soldier has been killed inside a Warrior in Afghanistan, and proof that the Taliban are turning to bigger and deadlier bombs targetted at British troops.

The soldier who has not been named, was driving to patrol base south of the hotspot town of Musa Qala, when the blast wrecked his heavily armoured vehicle, seriously injuring a number of other soldiers onboard.

British officials, at their headquarters in Lashkar Gah, said the troops were on a routine mission when the explosion struck on Saturday afternoon.

British soldier Sgt George Long is ablaze as he escapes his Warrior armoured vehicle, similar to tank a soldier was killed inside, after it was petrol-bombed in Basra in 2005

Commander Paula Rowe, the British forces spokesman, said: "While there are no words to ease their loss, our heartfelt sympathies go to his family, friends and fellow soldiers at this difficult time."

Senior military officials said the soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Ghurkha Rifles, was killed instantly by the blast.

The soldier's death is the second from the battalion in just over two weeks.

Yubraj Rai, 28, was killed on 4 November when his patrol was attacked, also in Musa Qala.

The tracked Warrior vehicles, which look like tanks, first entered service in 1988, but they have been overhauled and had their armour upgraded to meet the threat from Taliban and al-Qaeda bombs.

Together with the British Army Mastiffs, a company of Warriors are based outside Musa Qala, in Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, to ferry soldiers to and from the outposts, which ring the volatile town.

Until recently they were largely considered "mine proof".

British Army Warrior vehicle

But the Daily Mail has learnt that at least three Warrior's have been damaged "beyond repair" in the last eight months as the Taliban bomb makers set ever bigger charges in British soldiers' paths.

The Warriors, complete with a 30mm canons and a 7.62 machine gun, are around eight tons heavier than the newer Mastiffs which entered service in Afghanistan last summer.

After seeing service in Iraq, they were introduced to Afghanistan in 2007, in response to the growing threat from improvised explosive devices.

Saturday's fatality, which brings the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 125, comes just days after two Royal Marines were killed in the Army's newest armoured vehicle, the Jackal.

The 600,000 open-top trucks were designed to be mine-resistant and they were tested last year by the SAS last year.

In June, army bomb disposal officer Gary O'Donell warned that Taliban bomb makers were using increasingly bigger and more complex devices, shortly before he was killed trying to defuse one.

The dad-of-four said: "You have got to have a lot of respect, not only for the enemy, but also for their bombs."

News of the Ghurkha's death came as Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai defied the international community to try and stop him from negotiating with the Taliban's supreme leader.

London and Washington insist they will never negotiate with hardline Taliban extremists, like Mullah Omar.

But Karzai told journalists yesterday: "The international community has two choices: remove me, or leave, if they disagree."

It is not the first time Mr Karzai has extended an olive branch to Omar, who still directs the insurgency across southern Afghanistan from a hideout in neighbouring Pakistan. But it was the first time he has challenged the international community so bluntly over talks.

Mullah Omar led the Taliban regime to power in the mid-1990s, and was the country's supreme leader until they were ousted by the US-led invasion in 2001. He was responsible for harbouring Osama bin Laden inside Afghanistan, in the run up to the September 11 attacks, and he remains one of America's most wanted terrorists, with a 6 million bounty on his head.

Western diplomats accused Mr Karzai of bluffing, in a bid to bolster domestic support ahead of upcoming elections.

The Taliban insist they will not negotiate until the 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan leave.