After eight years of front line operations in Afghanistan the UK’s military headquarters in Helmand Province were disbanded yesterday in the latest stage of the draw-down of UK military operations in Afghanistan. The role played by the Headquarters Task Force in Helmand has now been integrated into the wider US-led Regional Command (South West).
This milestone marks the end of the 16th Task Force Helmand operation for the British-led coalition task force, which has comprised soldiers from the Danish, Estonian, Tongan, Jordanian and Bosnian armed forces.
British troops will however remain in Camp Bastion throughout the rest of this year and will be employed to either work within the coalition force under the US-led Regional Command or by supporting the redeployment of equipment back to the UK.
The number of British service personnel in Afghanistan will continue to drop as the operation draws to a close and the Afghan National Security Forces prepare to stand alone without ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) support.
In 2010, as I was approaching the end of my 22-year military service I spent a short time in the country.
Afghanistan – through the window of a C-17 aircraft
A dust storm rages as a briefing is given to troops
British soldiers take part in further training given to them on arrival
An explosion during a route clearance operation in Helmand Province
Young boy in an Afghan village
Soldiers from 1 Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles patrol through a village in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand Province
Afghan National Army soldiers
A marihuana crop grows within a compound in the Green Zone
Patrolling through the Green Zone
A village elder enters a building to attend a Shura
Village elders attend a Shura
A mortar line fires in support of ground troops
A command vehicle sits at the entrance to a patrol base in Helmand Provine
A soldier from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in a troop house in Helmand Province
A soldier shouts directions to fellow troops as they come under fire whilst on patrol in the Green Zone
During a firefight in the Green Zone a soldier runs along the edge of a track to give directions to his men as a machine gun provides covering fire behind him
Ian Forsyth Photography
Images remain (c) Ian Forsyth/Crown copyright