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Three more troops die as UK toll rises to 204

Prime Minister has Gordon Brown affirmed Britain's commitment to Afghanistan, on a weekend in which roadside bombs killed five more soldiers, pushing the UK death toll past 200.

world Updated: Aug 17, 2009 07:43 IST

Prime Minister has Gordon Brown affirmed Britain's commitment to Afghanistan, on a weekend in which roadside bombs killed five more soldiers, pushing the UK death toll past 200.

The grim milestone has reignited debate about the heavy human cost of a conflict the government claims is vital
to defeating terrorism but that critics say is unwinnable.

The Ministry of Defence said three soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers died after they were
attacked while on patrol on Sunday near Sangin in Helmand Province. They brought Britain's death toll in the country to
204.

Two other British soldiers died on Saturday.

Brown said it had been "a very difficult summer," but insisted the troops' presence in Afghanistan was keeping
Britain safe.

Thirteen British troops have been killed so far in August, and 22 died in July, Britain's bloodiest month since
the invasion of Afghanistan soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"Three-quarters of the terrorist plots that hit Britain derive from the mountain areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is to make Britain safe and the rest of the world safe that we must make sure we honor our commitment to
maintain a stable Afghanistan," Brown said.