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British support bomb disposal in Helmand

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Afghan National Security Forces recently uncovered a large cache of unexploded munitions that required specialized disposal by British Royal Engineers.

The Afghan forces have found an increasing number of dangerous unexploded bombs and other weapons in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern Helmand province. During a recent operation an Afghan unit uncovered nearly 70 unexploded munitions, the British Ministry of Defense said.

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The removal of the dangerous munitions required specialized skills. Officials say the Afghan forces called on the British 33 Engineer Regiment Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit for assistance.

The British Royal Engineers say the munitions included 107mm rockets, mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenade warheads, among other volatile explosives.

"The Afghan Security Forces are increasingly having to deal with these potentially deadly weapons and unexploded munitions to protect the local population," Capt. Ben Sinclair, 33 Engineer Regiment, said in a statement.

"These sorts of munitions were old, damaged and unstable -- they posed a significant threat to local civilians. ... Developing the capability of the Afghan Security Forces to deal with improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance forms part of the long-term strategy for Helmand."

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