Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Northern Ireland unit deploys to Helmand - Middle East Times


An army brigade from Northern Ireland has begun deploying to the volatile Helmand province in southern Afghanistan to take the lead for British units.

The Northern Ireland-based 19 Light Brigade has deployed almost 3,000 troops for a six-month tour to take the formation lead for British troops in the south of Afghanistan. Officials said the unit replaces the 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines unit in the region, the British Ministry of Defense reported.

The Northern Ireland troops head to Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban insurgency has grown considerably after regrouping along the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border. The 19 Light Brigade will lead the Task Force Helmand, a British battle group of around 8,000 forces.

"The tour will be physically and mentally demanding," Brigadier Tim Radford, commander of 19 Light Brigade, said in a statement.

"Of course we are all very aware of the dangers and threats ahead, but we are also trained in how we respond and indeed deal with those threats and consequences."

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