Day six of a major assault against the Taliban in Afghanistan has seen reinforcements flown in to bolster British forces in the centre of Helmand Province.
They left from Camp Bastion bound for the middle of the province as part of Operation Moshtarak, aimed at extending the Afghan government’s control in one of the country’s most troubled areas.
The joint NATO and Afghan mission is the biggest offensive since the American-led invasion in 2001.
The British were heading for Nad Ali, while American and Afghan forces have concentrated on Marjah, the heart of the last Taliban stronghold in Helmand.
British troops in Nad Ali encountered sporadic contact, trading machine-gun fire with insurgents. They are pressing home the latest assault that began on Wednesday by chasing Taliban fighters who escaped the first wave. A British soldier was killed in an explosion in Nahr-e-Saraj.
In Marjah, American and Afghan troops have secured the main roads, bridges and government centres according to the Marine commander in southern Afghanistan.
Brigadier General Larry Nicholson claimed that the combined forces have achieved their intial military objectives.