Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced July 7 that British troops in the Sangin area of Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province are to be replaced by US forces. The redeployment is no less politically significant than the British pull-out from Basra in 2007 during the occupation of Iraq. It was made necessary because the army has not been able to stabilise the area.
UK forces have suffered their heaviest losses in Sangin, with 100 of the total 313 British troop fatalities taking place in the area since the 2001 US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan. The last of these was killed the day after Fox’s announcement.