Plymouth Royal Marines Royal Marines start Helmand role

Flag ceremony
Image caption The marines will be working with the Afghan national security force

Royal Marines from Devon-based 42 Commando have officially started a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.

About 600 commandos from Bickleigh, near Plymouth, are based at Shahzad in the Nad Ali area of Helmand province.

The flag of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was lowered and the flag of 42 Commando raised over the base. It will be the marines' home until October.

It is the fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan for some of the Devon marines.

The marines are part of 3 Commando Brigade, which also includes the Army, Territorial Army and the Royal Navy.

The marines will be working with the Afghan national security forces in Nad Ali.

When 42 Commando was in Afghanistan in 2008-09, three Royal Marines lost their lives.

Commanding officer Lt Col Ewen Murchison said: "A great deal has been achieved here in recent months and our job now is to consolidate the progress that has been made by 3 Para and build upon it.

"There is still work to be done and we are confident that we have the training and resources to enable us to continue the development of the Afghan army and police, to allow them to take a greater lead in providing the security for the people of Nad Ali."

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