KABUL, Afghanistan – Three British soldiers have died in southern Afghanistan, officials announced Monday, raising Britain’s death toll in the conflict to 256 – exceeding the number of Britons lost in the Falklands war of 1982.
Britain reached the grim milestone as British, American and Afghan forces are preparing for a major attack on Marjah in Helmand province, the biggest town in southern Afghanistan under Taliban control.
U.S. officials have said for weeks that they plan to attack Marjah, a center of the Taliban’s logistical and opium smuggling network about 380 miles southwest of Kabul. But the precise date of the attack has been kept secret.
In London, Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth warned that British casualties were a “very real risk” during the upcoming operation around Marjah, which has a population estimated at about 80,000.
Britain’s losses in the Falklands occurred during a 73-day war to drive Argentine forces from the South Atlantic colony they had invaded to affirm their own claim to the islands, which they call the Malvinas.