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British troops to leave violent Afghan district

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British troops to leave violent Afghan district

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It has been confirmed that British troops are to hand over control of one of the most violent districts of Afghanistan to American colleagues.

Around 1,000 UK soldiers are set to leave Sangin, a valley in Helmand province that has proved particularly deadly. Around a third of the more than 300 British soldiers killed in the nine-year-old war have lost their lives there.

While UK forces will remain in Helmand, the decision to leave Sangin could be seen as a victory for the Taliban. Not so, say military strategists.

“It is certainly not a retreat,” said Colonel Richard Kemp, a former British commander in Afghanistan.
“What it represents is a tactical redeployment of forces, which is what invariably happens in any campaign as force balances change, as a campaign progresses. And, in this case, as a huge influx of US forces has occurred.”

The funeral has taken place of the 300th UK serviceman killed in the conflict, Marine Richard Hollington. Prime Minister David Cameron says that he wants to bring British combat troops home within five years.