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British troops moving from Lashkargah

British troops moving from Lashkargah

Jun 15, 2013 - 21:13

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): British forces are moving their headquarters from Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, to their main base known as Camp Bastion in the Greskh district.

The Ministry of Defence says the move will help British and Afghan forces work closer together during the final stages of transition. Eventually all security operations in Helmand will be taken over by Afghan forces.

The move comes after the number of bases where British troops are stationed fell from 137 three years ago, to 13.

The UK's 9,000 ground personnel have been commanded from Lashkargah since they took the lead in Helmand in 2006.

The Lashkargah HQ was placed in the town to allow British commanders and reconstructioninfo-icon experts to work closely with local officials.

Now, with internal Afghan forces increasingly taking over security in Helmand from ISAFinfo-icon troops, it has been decided to move the base to Camp Bastion located next to the Afghan National Army's Camp Shorabak.

The massive air and army base is home to nearly 30,000 British, American, Danish, Estonian, Afghan and Tongan personnel.

Bastion was designed to be away from population centres and in the middle of a desert area to make it more difficult to attack.

Previously many troops were stationed in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) which were exposed to insurgent attack.

Many of the deaths of British forces came as troops moved from base to base and patrolled the areas around them.

Forty-five out of the 444 British military deaths in Afghanistaninfo-icon have occurred in the Lashkar Gah area. The area came under three major attacks from Talibaninfo-icon fighters in 2008.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, on a visit to British forces in Afghanistan, said: "British forces have a proud history of service in Afghanistan and much of the hard work and effort has been planned from the Task Force Helmand Headquarters at Lashkargah.

"The success of Afghan forces in the areas in which we operate has been driving our ability to hand over security responsibility, which has seen a significant reduction in British bases."


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