UK combat troops arrive in Afghanistan
The first deployment of 150 British combat troops arrived in Afghanistan on a peacekeeping mission.india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 16:37 IST
The first deployment of 150 British combat troops arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesdayon a peacekeeping mission after London committed 3,300 soldiers to take over from American forces in a volatile southern province.
The new troops debarked from a Royal Air Force Trident aircraft in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and walked to waiting Hercules C-130 transport airplanes that flew them south.
The marines' final destination will be Helmand, a poppy-growing province that borders Pakistan and is rife with militant activity.
According to a British Ministry of Defence statement, the marines' first job will be to protect British army and air force engineers as they build a base in Lashkar Gar, Helmand's capital.
The remainder of the troops will be deployed here over the next few months.
The forces will face a much tougher battle than other NATO forces have in relatively safer northern and western areas where they have operated for the past few years.
Afghanistan's Taliban-led insurgency has been focused on southern and eastern regions and fighting last year killed some 1,600 people, the most since 2001.