Friday, July 24, 2009

Replacement troops deploying to Afghanistan

125 British Service personnel are to be deployed to Afghanistan to help sustain the progress of current operations following recent casualty rates, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth has announced today, Friday 24 July 2009.

Since deploying to Afghanistan in April 2009, 19 (Light) Brigade has been engaged in a number of high intensity operations.

Most recently, Operation PANCHAI PALANG has seen British forces engaged in hard fighting in an effort to bring security to parts of Helmand previously under Taliban influence.

The operation has been extremely successful, driving fighters out of towns and providing the necessary security that will allow Afghan families to vote in next month's presidential elections.

But this intense period has resulted in a significant number of casualties, both due to enemy action and the harsh terrain in which they operate.

Today's announcement follows requests by commanders on the ground to enable them to sustain the required operational effectiveness for the remainder of their tour, in particular, through the election period.

The personnel, who will deploy from Monday 27 July, will comprise of a company from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's), specialist counter Improvise Explosive Device personnel from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps, and members of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery.

They will deploy for the remainder of the current 19 Light Brigade tour, due to end in October when 11 Light Brigade take over.

The company from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's) had previously been scheduled to deploy to Iraq. But with the mission in Basra now winding down they are no longer required and are instead available for Afghanistan duties.

All troops deploying have received the appropriate training and personal equipment, like all troops do, for conducting operations in Afghanistan.

This deployment will ensure specialist skills, notably counter-IED operations, are not lost to commanders.

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