British troops and the conflict in Afghanistan

B Company from the Worcester and Sherwood Forest Regiment take part in an operation in Helmand Province in August 2007. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire

As the main British base in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion, is handed over to Afghan troops we look back at Britain's role in the conflict.

Entering the conflict

Britain joined the US in launching air strikes on Afghanistan after the Taliban gave al Qaeda safe haven and refused to hand over Osama bin Laden following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.

It was hoped this military intervention, which began in October 2001, would:

  • Bring al Qaeda's leaders to justice for the terrorist attacks

  • Remove the Taliban from its position of control in the country

  • Prevent Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists in the future

Some members of the Royal Anglian Regiment pictured training in Norfolk in October 2009. Credit: Capt R McKinnell RLC/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

British fatalities

The first British fatality in Afghanistan was Private Darren John George from the Royal Anglian Regiment, who died during a security patrol in Kabul on 9 April, 2002.

A total of 453 British forces personnel and civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since operations began in October 2001.

Of these fatalities, 404 were killed as a direct result of "hostile action".

Rifleman Fred Owusu (left) and Rifleman Justin Davis, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, pictured at a medal ceremony in May 2012. Credit: Paul Faith/PA Wire

British casualties

Since October 2001, 306 British military personnel and civilians have been "very seriously injured or wounded".

A further 310 were categorised as "seriously injured or wounded," Ministry of Defence figures show.

A total of 7,346 British personnel were treated in field hospitals during the campaign.

Then-Defence Secretary John Reid speaks to British soldiers in Afghanistan in April 2006. Credit: Johnny Green/Pool/PA Wire

Leading ISAF troops in Helmand Province

In January 2006, Nato - which took responsibility for security in the Afghan capital Kabul in August 2003 - announced Britain would lead the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Helmand Province.

During a visit to Afghanistan in April 2006, then-Defence Secretary John Reid said, "We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years time without firing one shot".

Corporal Sarah Bryant was described as 'a friendly, reliable and professional soldier.' Credit: Ministry of Defence

First female soldier killed in Afghanistan

Intelligence officer Corporal Sarah Bryant became the first female soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in June 2008.

Bryant, who was 26, and three British servicemen were killed when the vehicle they were travelling in was caught in an explosion during an operation east of Lashkar Gar.

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses British troops in Camp Bastion in October 2014. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

UK bases in Afghanistan and troop numbers

UK operations in Afghanistan are being conducted under the name Operation Herrick.

At the height of the conflict, there were 137 British bases and around 9,500 troops in Helmand Province alone - and more than 10,000 overall.

The number of British military personnel reduced to around 5,200 at the start of 2014, Ministry of Defence figures show.

Undated photograph shows C Company 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment board a Chinook. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

End of the line for Task Force Helmand

The British-led Task Force Helmand came to an end in April 2014 after eight years of frontline military operations.

Its functions were absorbed into the wider US-led Regional Command as the Britain's military headquarters in Helmand were disbanded.