Britain hands over command of Afghanistan's Helmand province

British military vehicle at Camp Bastion British forces have been scaling down their presence in Afghanistan in preparation for full withdrawal

Britain's command of military operations in Helmand province in Afghanistan has been formally handed over to a US general.

It is the latest step in the UK's withdrawal of combat troops from the country, which is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Forces remaining will be part of the US-led Regional Command (South West).

A total of 448 UK military personnel have died in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.

Forces reduced

British forces in Helmand have been reduced from a peak of more than 10,000 to about half of that number, as Afghan national forces have taken a greater role in the country's defence.

Last month the MoD announced the closure or handover of three frontline bases in Helmand, leaving just one outside Camp Bastion.

Britain's senior officer in Helmand will now be Deputy Commander Regional Command (South West), Brig Robert Thomson.

Last month, Brig James Woodham, the final commander of Task Force Helmand, said "history would judge" the success of the British mission in Afghanistan.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    The way of war in Afganistan, has traditionally been to "see which way the wind is blowing", and back the side that appears to be winning at the time. Ties of Family, Clan and Tribe are what matters in that country rather than Western concepts of democracy and the rule of law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    History may well judge those that put our troops their in the first place, so many died before us, so many will die in the future to what end. While I hope for the opposite, maybe we have created a situation that will create an even bigger and more oppressive regime in the future. Stirring up a hornets' nest, and then turn your back is not a wise decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.

    Hats doffed to our service personell. I lived in Aldershot for a while and have many friends both serving and ex Army. Whether they should have been there or not is a matter for the politicians.
    Only time will tell whether the mission was a success, but Afganistan has traditionally been known as the graveyard of foreign armies. So all we can do is pray.

  • rate this

    Comment number 368.

    Those that served in Afghanistan, and Iraq, will be paying the cost of this for decades to come...

    We must not forget the families of the dead, the physically incapacitated and the mentally injured.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Our brave forces deserve the utmost respect for their conduct and courage in a war they really should never have been in.
    Thirteen years later they may all return with their heads held high as national heroes and we all may mourn the loss of those that never saw this day.
    The government and politicians who argued the case for war should bow their heads in shame.


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