British troops in Afghanistan get first batch of helicopters

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London, Nov. 16 (ANI): The first batch of RAF helicopters has arrived in Afghanistan for British troops stationed there.

The RAF Merlin helicopters have been dispatched to address the acute shortage of aircrafts that was being blamed for the rising toll of deaths and injuries to British soldiers.

Dispatched from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, the aircrafts are being reassembled at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the Independent reports.

The first batch will be flying within weeks, with the full complement of six to be operational by the end of the year.

Capable of carrying upto 20 people, the Merlins will be used to ferry troops and equipment, reducing the number of land convoys, which have been repeatedly hit by the Taliban.

Roadside bombs account for more than 80 per cent of recent British and Nato casualties.

Before dying, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior British officer to die in Afghanistan, complained about his soldiers having to risk road moves because of the shortage of aircraft. (ANI)

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