British Troops take brunt of fighting in Afghanistan

Insurgents are back in force in Afghanistan – and British troops are bearing the brunt

• 12 Britons killed in month as attacks rise in Helmand
• US reinforcements pour in as death rate soars

Richard Norton-Taylor, Thursday 11 June 2009 21.31 BST
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Insurgent activity in Afghanistan has risen dramatically and Helmand province, the base for thousands of hard-pressed British troops, has become the crucible of an increasingly bloody conflict with the Taliban, figures released today show.

Deaths of foreign troops across Afghanistan increased by 78% over the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2008, according to Nato figures. Most occurred in Helmand where the death rate for British soldiers is continuing at a high rate, with 12 killed last month.

Nato recorded an increase of more than 70% in the number of attacks by insurgents, the vast majority in Helmand. As thousands more US troops pour into Helmand to reinforce Britain's military presence, Nato's latest figures show that on average there are more than 11 attacks in the province every day, far more than anywhere else in Afghanistan.
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