Solder killed by Talliban just yards from Afghan base
A young British officer was killed by a Taliban bomb just yards outside the gate of his base in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Daniel Clack, 24, of 1st Battalion The Rifles, was leading a 10-man patrol to meet locals in a nearby village in Helmand Province when he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
Five of his comrades were also injured in the blast, which took place 150 metres (164 yards) from the front gate of their checkpoint.
Lt Clack, from north London, leaves behind his mother Sue, father Martin, brother James and fiancee Amy Tinley.
His family said in a statement: "Dan was a brave rifleman and he died doing the only profession he ever considered. He loved leading his riflemen and was so proud to be an officer in the British Army.
"There are no words to describe our loss. He will be forever missed by his mother, father, brother, fiancee and all those who knew him. He will always be in our hearts."
Lt Clack studied at Exeter University and worked as a driver for a ski chalet company in Switzerland before joining the Army in 2009.
He was a keen sportsman, and represented both the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and his battalion at rugby.
The soldier deployed to Afghanistan in April as a platoon commander in charge of Check Point Shaparack in the district of Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand.
He was leading a patrol to the neighbouring village of Dactran to discuss a "shura", or meeting of elders, planned for the next day, when he was killed on Friday.
Lieutenant Colonel James de Labilliere, his commanding officer, described Lt Clack as "in all respects, a natural Rifles officer".
"His parting has come too soon, by far. Dan had so much to give, so much to look forward to and so many opportunities ahead of him," he said.
"The Rifles has been denied one of our best, and a professional commander for the future has been taken from us."
Major Bill Eden, of 1st Battalion The Rifles, said the young officer's death meant local Afghans had lost a "most loyal defender of the people" and his men had lost an "inspirational leader".
He went on: "Strong, resilient and robust, he was also a most affable and genial gentleman who brought out the best in all. None met him whose lives were not touched by his warmth and passion."
Defence Secretary Liam Fox added: "I was very saddened to learn of the death of Lieutenant Daniel Clack, a young man who, it is clear from the tributes paid, was an officer of great quality, both liked and respected by his men.
"Lieutenant Clack not only made the ultimate sacrifice doing a job he loved, but he did so serving his country, defending the security of the United Kingdom and its people."
A total of 379 British troops have died since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.