Officer K-I-A in Afghanistan named

A British officer killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan has been named.

Captain Ben Babington-Browne, from 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, died alongside two Canadian troops in the southern Zabul Province on Monday.

Capt Babington-Browne’s name was confirmed by the MOD after it was read out in the Commons by Leader of the House Harriet Harman – standing in for Gordon Brown at Prime Minister‘s Questions – during the customary weekly tribute to troops who have died on operations.

Seven UK servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan in the past week, including the highest-ranking Army officer to die on operations since the Falklands.

A British soldier, from the Light Dragoons, died in an explosion near Gereshk in Helmand Province on Tuesday night.

He was taking part in Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther’s Claw, a major assault against the Taliban in the central Helmand river valley ahead of next month’s Afghan presidential election. The soldier’s next of kin have been informed.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “This soldier gave his life for the security of his own country and the freedom of the Afghan people – there is no greater sacrifice than this. Our deepest and heartfelt sympathies go to his family and loved ones.”

The death takes the number of British servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 to 176.

It has been a grim week for UK forces in the country, with a series of fatalities including the highest ranking Army officer to die on operations since the Falklands.

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, 39, the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Trooper Joshua Hammond, 18, of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, died in a blast near Lashkar Gah last Wednesday. Another three British soldiers were killed in Operation Panchai Palang over the weekend.