Source: The New York Times, Section A, page 9, 20 March 2002 and Section A, page 8, 5 July 2002.
MARCH 2002: Engineers arrive at Bagram to prepare a base.
JULY 2002: Soldiers and marines going home. (Associated Press photos)
“There is a mission, that is all I will say,” Lieutenant Colonel Harradine (of the Third Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines) told The New York Times on 29 March 2002. “We are the best trained troops in the United Kingdom, and we are the boys for this.”
The Third Commando Brigade saw action during the Falklands and Persian Gulf war, and also served in Sierra Leone, Kosovo and Northern Ireland.
The commander of the British forces, Brigadier Roger Lane, comes under the overall command of U.S. Major General Franklin L. Hagenbeck. Their mission, as subsequently learned, is to find and engage Taliban and Al Queda forces on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The British force of 1,700 soldiers and marines saw little action over the next three months. In the first week of July, they began heading for home.
British commanders expressed satisfaction with their work, which included aiding villagers with reconstruction. It was the largest British combat deployment since the Persian Gulf War in 1991.