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British soldiers carry out 'out-of-area' operation in Afghanistan

July 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

SANGIN, Afghanistan, July 28 (UPI) -- About 80 British soldiers were in Afghanistan's Helmand province for a weeklong operation aimed at clearing Taliban militants from the area, officials said.

The soldiers arrived in the province's Sangin district and completed the operation this week along with members of the Afghan National Army, Khaama Press reported Sunday.

British soldiers were previously stationed in the Sangin district from 2006 to 2010 to defend the area from the Taliban.

During that time period, 106 British personnel were killed.

"In support of the Afghan forces who now have the security lead across the country, U.K. personnel do on occasion operate outside the usual U.K. area of operations in central Helmand in an advisory capacity," the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement. "These out-of-area operations have been a long-standing element of the U.K. mission in Afghanistan and are completely in line with our current role of providing training, advice and assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces."

During the recent operation, ANA soldiers found and destroyed 30 improvised explosive devices, and confiscated two insurgent vehicles were seized along with ammunition and weapons, the BBC reported.

"Operating in Sangin over the past week, they have moved to another level of performance and independence," said Brig. Rupert Jones, Commander Task Force Helmand. "It has been a very impressive demonstration of what the Afghan National Army can be capable of."

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