Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY July 7, 2010 - British Troops To Leave Deadly Sangin

Defense News: DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY July 7, 2010 - British Troops To Leave Deadly Sangin
Source: DTN News - compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources including Sky News
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 7, 2010: British troops are to be pulled out of the Sangin area of Afghanistan - where nearly a third of UK deaths have occurred.
It is understood the Government has decided the notoriously volatile district in northern Helmand province will be handed over to US forces, possibly later this year.
The move - set to be announced later by Defence Secretary Liam Fox - comes after Britain handed over command in Helmand to an American general last month.
Mr Fox is expected to say that Britain will concentrate on Helmand's populous central belt, leaving the north and south of the province to the US.
Sangin, currently home to 40 Commando Royal Marines, is particularly dangerous because it contains a patchwork of rival tribes.
It is also a major centre of Afghanistan's opium-growing industry.
It has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting the British military has endured since the Second World War.
Of the 312 UK deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, 99 occurred in Sangin.
Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: "It is not like they will be leaving because the Taliban have won.
"They are being replaced by the Americans. I think in the Autumn. I think this is a political and a military decision and I do not think you can realistically call it a retreat."
There is likely to be a mixed response to news of the handover - relief that such a deadly burden has been passed on but also sadness at the high price paid in troops killed and injured.
Britain's 8,000 forces in Helmand are now greatly outnumbered by the 20,000 US Marines sent there under President Obama's surge strategy.
Sangin is the latest part of the district to be handed over from British to American control.
The town of Musa Qaleh was transferred in March and US marines took charge of the strategically important Kajaki dam last month.


No comments:

Post a Comment