The British Ministry of Defense announced today (February 26, 2007) that the UK will deploy an additional force of approximately 1,400 troops to southern Afghanistan at NATO’s request. This will bring the total number of UK forces in Afghanistan to around 7,700 personnel. The UK will provide a maneuver battalion for Regional Command (South), an area which covers Helmand, the base and responsibility of the existing UK taskforce, but also the strategically vital neighboring province of Kandahar, plus the further provinces of Oruzgan, Zabol, Nimruz and Daykondi.
The battlegroup will comprise elements of an infantry battalion, augmented with a company of Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles and additional artillery units. Units to deploy include the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards equipped with Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles, fire support units from the 19th Regiment Royal and 5th Regiment Royal ArtilleryArtillery and 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, equipped with Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The air elements will include four additional Harrier GR9s to enhance close air support, the 846 Naval Air Squadron will deploy four Sea King helicopters. Another C-130 Hercules will also join to support the British forces in the region.