Three British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan after their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Helmand, the MoD says.
They were from the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Their next of kin have been informed.
The soldiers, who died on Tuesday, were travelling in an armoured vehicle.
The number of UK service personnel to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001 is now 444.
The latest deaths bring the total of British troops killed in Afghanistan this year to six.
The MoD says the three soldiers were evacuated by air to the military hospital at Camp Bastion but their lives could not be saved.
The spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Richard Morgan, says their deaths come as a great loss to all those serving in Task Force Helmand, and that their thoughts and prayers go out to the soldiers’ family and friends at this difficult time.
Nine Afghans were also killed in the blast, which occurred as the British troops were on a routine patrol in the district of Nahr-e Saraj.
An MoD spokesman says the incident underlines the threats faced by British personnel as they continue to hand over security operations to their Afghan counterparts, ahead of UK combat operations concluding by the end of next year.
It also says security in Helmand is improving, with Afghan forces now responsible for the bulk of the province – but that the environment in which UK troops operate “remains risky and dangerous, including the threat of improvised explosive devices and insurgent attack”.
The BBC’s defence correspondent, Caroline Wyatt, says the Mastiff armoured vehicle in which the troops were travelling has long been deemed one of the safest of all armoured vehicles.
The deaths double the number of British troops who have died this year, our correspondent says, although these are the first to be suffered by 1 Brigade, who took command of Task Force Helmand earlier this month.
It is the first time since last September that UK forces have had soldiers killed by improvised explosive devices. Members of the Afghan army and police, as well as civilians in Afghanistan, are often killed or maimed by roadside bombs.
British troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, when all Nato combat operations are due to finish, although a small number will remain in support roles.
The number of British troops in Afghanistan was reduced to 9,000 before the end of 2012 and is set to fall to 5,200 by the end of 2013.