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British forces not part of Sangin offensive: MoD

British forces not part of Sangin offensive: MoD

Jul 29, 2013 - 16:52

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Ministry of Defence on Monday denied British forces recently participated in joint offensive with Afghan forces in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

A day earlier, British media reported UK troops assisted Afghan forces in conducting the anti-Talibaninfo-icon operation. In response to a request from Afghan commanders, the British soldiers returned to the restive area for the week-long operation.

The British involvement was part of a major operation by 215 Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to clear insurgents. Some 80 solders, based in Camp Bastion, were involved in the offensive.

But the MoD in Kabul said in a brief statement after the security switch foreign soldiers were no longer included in ground operations, which were planned and led by Afghan forces. 

A Ministry of Interior spokesman said Afghan security personnel were increasingly focused on keeping the district under control. In recent months, the town has been the scene of offensives led by Afghans, he explained.

Siddique Siddiqui told a news conference in Kabul: "It doesn’t mean international forces are in the first line or direct operations. All such offensives are led by the Afghan forces, who may seek advice from their international partners, if needed."

Also present at the media briefing was ISAFinfo-icon spokesman Heinz Feldmann, who promised continued support for Afghan forces. However, he would not comment on British troops’ role in the Sangin offensive.


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