Saturday, June 16, 2012

Car bomb kills at least 13 at market in northwest Pakistan

Map of Pakistan
Map of Pakistan (Photo credit: Omer Wazir)
(Reuters) - A bomb planted in a pickup truck killed at least 13 people at a market in northwest Pakistan on Saturday and the death toll could rise, security and hospital officials said.

The target in the town of Landi Kotal appeared to be a tribal leader allied with the government against the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamist militant group blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the country, security officials said.

They had earlier said a car bomb had caused the explosion. Hospital officials said 34 people were wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

One security official said a suicide bomber connected with the attack began wandering around the town shortly after the explosion.

"The blast was so powerful, it was heard far and wide and caused damage to nearby buildings," said resident Sher Mohammad Shinwari, adding most of the casualties were fruit and vegetable traders who were beside their roadside push-carts.

The Pakistani Taliban are seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government. Suicide attacks have eased in recent months but there are no signs Pakistan's military has broken the back of the group.

(Reporting by Ismail Khan and Ibrahim Shinwari; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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R.I.P. - Lance Corporal James Ashworth

Lance Corporal James Ashworth
[Picture: via MOD]

Lance Corporal James Ashworth killed in Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

15 Jun 12
It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lance Corporal James Ashworth from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday 13 June 2012.

Lance Corporal Ashworth, aged 23, died as a result of enemy action while on patrol with the Reconnaissance Platoon of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal James Ashworth

Lance Corporal James Ashworth joined the British Army in 2006 when he was 17 years old. Following his training at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, he joined Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards and completed a stint of ceremonial duty in London.

He was quickly identified as being a fit, capable soldier and thus suitable for the Guards' Parachute Platoon, part of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He spent three years with the Guards' Parachute Platoon, deploying on Op HERRICK 8 and exercising in Belize, Norway and Kenya.

On returning to the Grenadiers during the build up for Op HERRICK 16, Lance Corporal Ashworth deployed to Canada with The Queen's Company before moving across to the Reconnaissance Platoon for the remainder of Mission Specific Training for Op HERRICK 16.

A talented football player, he represented the Battalion, most notably during their successful recent French military tour.

Lance Corporal Ashworth came from a strong lineage of soldiering: his father was a Grenadier, and one of his brothers, Coran aged 21, is currently serving with the Army in Northern Ireland.

Brought up in Kettering, he continued to live there with his mother and girlfriend. When at home he played football for his local team and loved spending time with his girlfriend and friends.

Lance Corporal Ashworth was an excellent soldier with a bright future ahead of him. He was an exceptional individual with a great deal of proven combat experience. Although only recently promoted as a Non Commissioned Officer, he was already working hard to further progress his career by assuming greater responsibility.

He was a very fit, popular young man and will be remembered for his strength in the field and his sense of fun when back in barracks. Lance Corporal Ashworth was a typical Grenadier: fit, capable and a professional soldier to the core.

The gap left by his loss will be difficult to fill, and he will be sorely missed by all who served with him. The thoughts and prayers of the Regimental family are firmly with James' family during this difficult time.

Lance Corporal Ashworth leaves behind his mother, Kerryann, father Duane, sisters Lauren and Paige, brothers Coran and Karl, niece Darcie, aged 4, and his girlfriend, Emily.

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