Britain marked the 300th fatality of its nine-year campaign in Afghanistan on Monday, a mournful milestone in a country struggling with its role on the front line of the NATO-led war.
The Ministry of Defense said a member of 40 Commando Royal Marines was hurt in a June 12 explosion in Helmand province. He died Sunday in a hospital in England.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the death "desperately sad news," but said it provided a moment "for the whole country to reflect on the incredible service and sacrifice and dedication that our armed services give on our behalf."
Britain has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, the largest international force after the United States.
Questions over the direction of the war have grown as casualties have risen. Most of the British deaths have occurred since 2006, when troops were sent to Helmand, a southern province that is a center of Taliban insurgency.
Defense Secretary Liam Fox paid tribute to the dead marine and said "our resolve and determination to see the mission through remains steadfast."
The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, which took office last month, has said Britain is committed to Afghanistan, but is also keen to offer war-weary Britons an exit strategy by speeding up the hand-over of control to Afghan security forces.
"We are paying a high price for keeping our country safe, for making our world a safer place, and we should keep asking why we are there and how long we must be there," Cameron said.
He said that as soon as Afghans "are able to take care and take security for their own country, that is when we can leave."