Missing UK soldier is found dead

British troops in AfghanistanThe MoD launched an extensive operation to find the soldier

A British soldier who went missing in Afghanistan has been found dead, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The soldier, from the Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was found with bullet wounds by a patrol.

An “extensive search” had been launched after he left the base in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan alone in the early hours of Monday morning.

The soldier’s next of kin have been informed of his death.

Taskforce spokesman, Lieut Col Tim Purbrick, said: “He had suffered gunshot wounds. His exact cause of death is still to be established and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death are currently under investigation.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in Kabul, said a local Taliban fighter told the BBC that insurgents had captured a foreign soldier in the Babaji area and, after a firefight, the soldier was killed.

But our correspondent said the Taliban often made exaggerated claims for propaganda reasons.

The international mission in Afghanistan, Isaf, denied that any gun battle took place.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who is visiting Afghanistan, said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the soldier.

His schedule had to be revised as the helicopters which were due to take him on a tour were being used to search for the soldier.

The number of British military deaths in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 now stands at 375.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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