In her annual Christmas message, Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second has paid tribute to those serving in her country's armed forces.
The Queen, the symbolic head of the British military, spoke of the loss felt by many, in this, the deadliest year to date for British forces in Afghanistan.
"I am sure that we have all been affected by events in Afghanistan and saddened by the casualties suffered by our forces serving there," she said. "Our thoughts go out to their relatives and friends who have shown immense dignity in the face of great personal loss."
Britain currently has just over 9,000 forces deployed in Afghanistan. The Queen also paid tribute to members of other Commonwealth states that have sent troops to the region.
"We can be proud of the positive contribution that our servicemen and women are making, in conjunction with our allies," she said. "Well over 13,000 soldiers from the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore - are currently serving in Afghanistan. The debt of gratitude owed to these young men and women and to their predecessors is indeed profound."
More than 100 British soldiers have died this year in Afghanistan. That is the most since the lengthy deployment began back in 2001. Since then, a total of 243 have been killed.
Polls here repeatedly show that average British citizens want to see the troops brought back home as soon as possible.