British Gurkha killed in Afghanistan identified
One of two British Gurkha soldiers shot dead by a man wearing Afghan police uniform at a checkpoint in Helmand province, Southern Afghanistan on Tuesday was a Nepali citizen serving in the British Army, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on Wednesday.
Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar, 29, from 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) was killed on Tuesday while on patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj district. His colleague from the same battalion, Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter, was also killed in the same incident.
The two men, who were attached to 40 Commando Royal Marines, were based in Checkpoint Prrang in the southern area of Nahr-e Saraj. On October 30 they were participating in a shura (meeting) with Afghan Uniform Policemen inside the checkpoint. On completion of the shura, they were shot and killed by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform who had been attending the meeting, MoD said.
Lance Corporal Kunwar was deployed to Afghanistan on October 3, 2012 as a Sniper Section Commander in the acting rank of Lance Corporal. He was on his third operational tour of Afghanistan.
Kunwar was born on June 19, 1984 in Pokhara, Nepal, where he lived with his mother and father. He passed the arduous selection for the Brigade of Gurkhas on 17 December 2004 and having completed his year-long infantry training joined 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles in October 2005.
"We are deeply shocked, disheartened and in disbelief that Siddhanta is no longer with us But we shall treasure all the good things he did. He enjoyed immensely of his profession and was fully committed towards it. He has made us proud. The whole family misses him dearly," the family of Siddhanta Kunwar said in a statement on Wednesday.
Lieutenant Colonel David Robinson. Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurhka Rifles, said: "Siddhanta Kunwar was a great character and a tough, professional Gurkha soldier with a proven and impressive operational record. Strong and highly experienced, he stood out from the crowd not only as a highly capable sniper but also for his smile and sense of fun, whatever the situation he found himself in.”
The UK Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said, "I was deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of Lieutenant Edward Drummond-Baxter and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar. They have made the ultimate sacrifice whilst serving in Afghanistan on an operation which is vital to our national security. My thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of both of these brave men at this most difficult time.
Kunwar leaves behind his mother, Krishna Maya Kunwar, his father, Shyam Kumar Kunwar, stepmother Chhali Devi Kunwar, his four sisters; Shova, Shyandya, Smita and Sardha Kunwar and his elder brother Bhupendra Kunwar. nepalnews.com