Troops to return to Afghanisation

ESSEX and Suffolk-based soldiers will be returning to Afghanistan this autumn as part of the UK's ongoing military commitment to the war-torn country, it has been announced.

Roddy Ashworth

ESSEX and Suffolk-based soldiers will be returning to Afghanistan this autumn as part of the UK's ongoing military commitment to the war-torn country, it has been announced.

Rapid reaction force 16 Air Assault Brigade will be mobilised to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan.

It is the third time the brigade, most of which is based at Merville barracks, Colchester but also has regiments at Wattisham Airfield, has served a six-month tour in the country, having previously been sent there in 2006 and 2008.


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In 2002, members of 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment - which forms part of 16 Air Assault Brigade - served as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul.

A total of 16 soldiers from the brigade have lost their lives in the country since September 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks in the US sparked the military campaign against the Taliban based in Afghanistan.

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The commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, Brigadier James Chiswell MC, said: “The Secretary of State for Defence announced that in October 2010, 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is Colchester-based, will return to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan.

“We will be the first British brigade to do so for the third time and I am confident that, in support of our Afghan partners, we will continue the ongoing work of making Afghanistan a safer and more stable country.

“Many of the Brigade will have served in Afghanistan before and therefore bring with them an enormous wealth of experience and understanding.

“We will spend the next eight months training hard to prepare ourselves, while ensuring that our families receive the best possible care and support.”

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