1000 Scottish troops to be sent to Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence has announced that 1,000 troops from Scottish battalions will be deployed to Afghanistan in April.

• The Scots Guards are amongst the Scottish soldiers being sent to Afghanistan

The group will be sent as part of a 9,500-strong UK-wide force to serve around the Helmand area of the country.

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They will be responsible for the security of Kandahar air base and commanded by 4th Mechanized Brigade, which takes over from 11 (Light) Brigade in April. They will also be involved in training the Afghan National Army.

Personnel from 52nd Lowland, 6th battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS), the Scots Guards, 14 Squadron (Tornados) from RAF Lossiemouth, the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) and 51 Squadron RAF Regiment from Lossiemouth will be sent.

They will be joined by 600 UK reservists, including medics from 612 Squadron at RAF Leuchars who will be undertaking surgical roles at Camp Bastion.

This week, 50 medical reservists from 205 Field Hospital in Glasgow will go to the country to run the hospital in Camp Bastion.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Herbert, commanding officer of 1 SCOTS, said: "We have had a company of men out in a small frontline base over the past six months doing some excellent work alongside our Edinburgh neighbours, 3 RIFLES.

"They have sent us many useful reports and now the rest of the battalion is raring to go and build on their achievements.

"We know the dangers we will face, but have the right training and equipment to meet them head on. The process of redevelopment and driving out the insurgents will take time, but after every tour of duty the progress is obvious, and each mission makes headway towards a stable Afghanistan".

Air Officer Scotland, Air Commodore Harry Atkinson, said it would be a "vital contribution" to the Nato operation in Afghanistan.

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He said: "Air power brings a real military advantage over the insurgents, providing rapid mobility, re-supply, intelligence and, when needed, close air support for troops on the ground – including the courageous infantrymen from Scotland.

"Our people receive excellent support from their families and communities throughout Scotland, for which I am most grateful. That encouragement boosts morale and gives our men and women great strength when they are far from home."