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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Scot takes over in Helmand role
Brigadier Andrew Mackay has taken over command in Helmand
A Scots-based army brigadier has taken over command of one of Afghanistan's most troubled regions.

Brigadier Andrew Mackay, commander of the 52 Infantry Brigade in Edinburgh, will now head Task Force Helmand in southern Afghanistan.

The Brigadier has just joined his Scots-based staff in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province.

The area, in the south-west of the country, is reported to be responsible for more than 40% of the world's opium.

He has taken over from Brigadier John Lorimer, commander of the outgoing 12 Mechanised Brigade.

Brigadier Mackay will command approximately 7,000 personnel from NATO's International Stability Assistance Force including British, Estonian and Danish troops.

Our training and preparation have been thorough and we are ready for the challenges ahead
Brigadier Andrew Mackay

He said "Counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan are complex, demanding and conducted at a high tempo.

"Our predecessors have achieved significant success here in Helmand. It is our job to take that work forward.

"Our training and preparation have been thorough and we are ready for the challenges ahead."

About 150 officers and soldiers serving with the Headquarters of 52 Infantry Brigade have been deploying to Lashkar Gah in Southern Helmand since August.

Most of the headquarters' staff are normally based in Edinburgh's Redford Cavalry Barracks.

The Brigade's Deputy Chief of Staff Major Nick Haston, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, from Edinburgh, said: "We are fully prepared for the next 6 months in every way possible to support the Government of Afghanistan.

"We are a potent force within the NATO mission and everything we do will have a positive impact on the future of Afghanistan and it is our intention to make a difference, developing Afghanistan governance, economy and security in the long-term."

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