A BRITISH soldier from the Pirbright-based Royal Anglian Regiment has died after being shot in the head while on patrol in Afghanistan.

The soldier, who has not yet been named, was part of the peacekeeping mission in the capital Kabul when he was shot accidentally on April 9.

Lt Col Neal Peckham, spokesman for the UK-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), said the incident "did not involve any party outside of Isaf".

The soldier had been treated at a French military hospital and was being flown out of Afghanistan when he died. He is the first British fatality of the Afghan conflict.

The shooting happened in a dangerous area in the west of Kabul that has been hit by a wave of armed robberies blamed on unemployed Northern Alliance soldiers who fought the Taliban.

Between eight and 12 troops were on patrol in the area, known as District 6, when the soldier was shot.

Lt Col Peckham added that several peacekeepers have been shot in District 6 in recent weeks.

A spokesman for the MoD said: "It is with very deep regret that the Ministry of Defence has to confirm that a soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment, serving with the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, has died after a tragic incident during a patrol.

"The soldier's family have been informed, and have requested that his name not be released for the time being.

"The incident occurred during a security patrol in the Afghan capital, and is the subject of a full inquiry to establish the exact circumstances. However, hostile action was not a factor.

"Our most sincere sympathies are with his family at this very difficult time."

The incident came as other members of the Royal Anglian Regiment held a sombre ceremony at their base in Kabul to mark the Queen Mother's funeral.

The Queen Mother was honorary colonel-in-chief of the regiment from its formation in 1964 and around 300 soldiers said prayers and listened as bagpipes and bugles were played in her memory.

The death is the third recent fatal shooting incident involving soldiers based at barracks in the News area.

Last month 17-year-old James Collinson, a private with the Royal Logistic Corps, was found dead from gunshot wounds at the Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut. An Army investigation is taking place and an inquest is to be held.

Also last month a coroner recorded an open verdict into the death of Pte Geoff Gray, another member of the Royal Logistic Corps, who died from gunshot wounds to the head at the same barracks last year.