Britain closes military headquarters in Afghanistan

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LONDON- Britain’s military headquarters in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan has been disbanded after eight years of frontline operations, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on Wednesday.

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The latest move to withdraw British operations in Afghanistan, the functions of the British-led military headquarters Task Force Helmand, had been subsumed into the wider U.S.-led Regional Command (South West).

The MoD said in a statement that the disbandment marked the end of the 16th Task Force Helmand operation for the British-led coalition task force.

This comprised of soldiers from the Danish, Estonian, Tongan, Jordanian and Bosnian armed forces.

As part of the planned drawdown of British forces in Afghanistan, the Task Force Helmand was relocated from Lashkar Gah city, capital of southern Helmand province, to NATO-led coalition base Camp Bastion last year.

The control of Task Force Helmand’s area of operations had been handed over completely so far.

The role for the task force has changed from combat operations to advising the Afghan National Security Forces, the MoD said.

After the disbandment, British troops will remain in Camp Bastion throughout 2014, working in the coalition force under Regional Command (South West) or supporting the redeployment of equipment back to Britain, according to the MoD.

The number of British service personnel in Afghanistan will continue to drop as the operation draws to a close.

Also as the Afghan National Security Forces prepare to stand alone without the International Security Assistance Force support, the ministry said.

Britain has planned to withdraw most of its forces by the end of 2014. (Xinhua/NAN)

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