NAD ALI DISTRICT, Afghanistan — An Estonian soldier was killed Tuesday morning in rural Helmand province when a bomb detonated near his patrol.

The soldier, whose name has not been released, was on foot patrol when he stepped on the bomb. The blast could be heard at nearby Patrol Base Wahid, where part of the Estonian contingent was preparing for a separate patrol.

Insurgents often target foot patrols in the area with bombs. On Saturday, another Estonian soldier was seriously injured in a similar blast while on patrol.

Estonia, a Baltic nation of 1.3 million people, has about 150 troops conducting combat operations in a volatile, opium-producing part of Helmand province.

Estonian soldiers at Wahid held a brief memorial service late in the day. Maj. Sergei Guselnikov led his soldiers in a moment of silence for their fallen comrade.

"Our duty must go on, and we must be strong," Guselnikov said.

While some other European countries have limited the type of missions in which their troops can participate, Estonian troops have been involved in heavy combat. Four Estonian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year, all by roadside bombs, and 23 wounded. Estonia has lost seven soldiers since 2006.

Estonians first deployed combat troops to Afghanistan in 2006 and have seen heavy fighting in Helmand province since then. Before that, they sent a small contingent of military observers.

Roadside bombs, targeting both vehicles and foot patrols, have been the biggest killer of coalition troops in Afghanistan.

A British soldier, Sgt. Robert Loughran-Dickson, was killed Nov. 18 outside the same patrol base by small-arms fire.

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