Monday, September 20, 2010

British troops depart Helmand's Sangin

British forces in Afghanistan have handed above duty for security in Sangin to US forces, marking the finish of their four-year mission inside region.

The 1,000 Royal Marines and other personnel are staying redeployed to central Helmand province.

The uk has suffered its heaviest losses in Sangin. Of your 337 England UK deaths given that 2001, a 3rd have happened there.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said England UK troops must be "proud of their achievements".

He said Sangin was "one of your most difficult locations of Afghanistan".

"The degree of sacrifice may be higher and we must certainly not overlook the numerous brave troops who've misplaced their lives inside pursuit of good results in an worldwide mission rooted firmly in our own national security inside England UK," he said.

British troops will redeploy to central Helmand, exactly where they'll proceed to lead the struggle towards the insurgency and aid in making a secure and safe Afghanistan, he extra.

England UK forces have already been inside region given that 2006, and 106 England UK personnel have already been wiped out, 36 this year alone. The MoD introduced in July that British troops had been being changed by US forces.

Management was formally handed above from England UK forces to your US Marine Corps at 0630 BST.

The BBC's Ian Pannell in Kabul said there can be a bodily handover, while using union jack lowered along with the US flag raised, but minor would modify with a sensible degree.

He said some members of your forty Commando Battle Group experienced by now left, along with the handover can be staggered above the coming weeks.

Describing it as a "totemic" second for your England UK, he said Sangin was probably the most hazardous district in Helmand - if not the whole of Afghanistan.

On a latest go to to your region, he witnessed a very long challenge during which numerous US troopers, Afghan troopers and civilians sustained injuries.

"Although development may be built, the region stays quite tricky. This is a essential battleground for insurgents and coalition forces.

"The truth is, the Americans will now ought to try and finish the work that Britain began," he extra.

Ian Sadler, whose son Jack was wiped out when a landmine exploded beneath his army Land Rover close to Sangin in 2007, said he was glad troops had been finding out of your region.

"We are pulling out of the hotspot. It is really a particularly hazardous region of Afghanistan, so it is a superb issue," he told the BBC.

The past serviceman said it was portion of the soldier's work to help keep shifting on.

"They will likely be sad for those who have already been wiped out, for those who have misplaced their arms and legs," he extra. "But Sangin is like staying at a bad hotel - you're glad if you don't go back again."

Col Stuart Tootal, past commander of 3 Para, the primary challenge team sent into Sangin, says the region will usually be vital for British forces.

"We cannot ignore the emotion the British are going to attach to Sangin. I imply my own challenge team went in there four many years ago and 50 percent our casualties had been misplaced in Sangin," he said.

The handover "makes pragmatic great sense due to the fact it makes it possible for the British to focus on their primary effort inside centre of your province," he extra.
'Poignant moment'

MoD spokesman Maj Gen Gordon Messenger, a past commander of your England UK Helmand process pressure, said it was "absolutely not" a pull-out !

Though development experienced been slower in Sangin than in other elements of Helmand, he admitted, British efforts experienced not been worthless.

"It's a hugely critical level that the Afghan flag flies inside district centre of Sangin, and that the people of Sangin along with the surrounding region recognise that and see the rewards of it," he said.

"By contesting Sangin, by exhibiting improvement in Sangin, we're able to deflect violence that would otherwise by exported into the populated locations in central Helmand."

The commanding officer of forty Commando team, Lt Col Paul James, said the handover was a "poignant moment" tinged with sadness, but the overwhelming emotion was one among pride.

"I believe we've achieved vital good results right here, making Sangin a way more secure and peaceful site.

"And almost certainly just as importantly, the Afghan national security forces that we've partnered right here are now beginning to have the ability to stand on their very own two feet and take around the duty for delivering Sangin for themselves.

"It's not going being British forces who supply good results in Sangin and it is not going being American forces.

"It's not going being anybody else aside from the Afghans themselves."

Lt Col Clay Tipton, from the US Marine Corps, said England UK and US troops experienced been working collectively in Sangin for your previous few of months, and their work now was to "continue the success".

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says Sangin is a town of about 20,000 people along with the region is a vital supply route for your Taliban, with men, money and medications passing through it.

He said British patrol bases had been by now staying shut down along with the Royal Marines who served you will find frustrated at having to go away a spot they fought so challenging for.

"As the British mission in Sangin ends, concerns stay regardless of whether there had been ever ample assets to full the work," he said. "Even so, the American pressure will cover exactly the same quantity of floor, having a equivalent variety of troops."

You'll find about 9,500 England UK troops in Afghanistan, while using vast majority deployed inside south of your country.

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