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Britain Sends Military Personnel To Afghan Province

File photo of British Royal Air Force Chinook CH-47 in Helmand.
File photo of British Royal Air Force Chinook CH-47 in Helmand.

Britain has sent military personnel to the southern Afghan province of Helmand following reports the district of Sangin had largely fallen to the Taliban.

Helmand's governor said on December 21 that Afghan police were holding out against Taliban fighters who had surrounded their compound and the district governor's building in Sangin. He added that all roads into the town were under Taliban control.

Britain said a small number of personnel had been deployed to Helmand in an advisory role.

London's Times newspaper reported that a unit of about 30 soldiers from Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) and up to 60 U.S. special forces had been sent to bolster the Afghan forces to defend the town.

A Defense Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters that the team would not be engaged in fighting.

Britain ended combat operations in Afghanistan last year but has about 450 troops there to train and support the Afghan army and security forces.

Last week, the Pentagon warned of deteriorating security in Afghanistan.

Six U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on December 21 when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck their patrol near Bagram air base.

Based on reporting by Reuters