UK combat troops arrive in Afghanistan | india | Hindustan Times
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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.