Two US Marines killed as insurgents launch deadly attack on Camp Bastion
Two US Marines were killed and several more troops wounded late last night in an attack on the Camp Bastion military compound in Afghanistan.
A US official said the attack at the base in Helmand province was by heavily armed insurgents and involved mortars, rockets or rocket-propelled grenades, as well as small arms fire.
Early indications were that it was on the north-east side of the base, which houses American forces in Camp Leatherneck.
There were no reports early today of any British fatalities.
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is considering plans to bring back some British troops earlier than expected.
He said there was “a bit of rethinking” about soldier numbers after military commanders reported that Afghan forces were taking on the “lion’s share” of the combat role.
Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly said he is keen to avoid a “cliff-edge” on troop withdrawal in 2014.
Mr Hammond said he had been privately pushing “for keeping force levels as high as possible for as long as possible” earlier this year, but added commanders were “surprised by the extent to which they have been able to draw back and leave the Afghans to take the lion’s share of the combat role”.
Mr Hammond said: “I think there is a bit of a rethinking going on about how many troops we actually need… there may be scope for a little bit more flexibility on the way we draw down.”
About 500 British troops are due to return home by the end of this year, leaving a further 9,000 to return by 2014.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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