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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Afghan soldiers' story exhibited
Items in wartime exhibition
The exhibition gives an insight into life in a war zone
Soldiers who served in Afghanistan's Helmand province have put together a display documenting their experiences.

More than 150 soldiers of 16 Air Assault Brigade - the first Nato troops to enter the region - contributed to Helmand: The Soldiers' Story.

They donated photographs, film footage, personal diaries, letters and e-mails to the exhibition, opening at London's National Army Museum on Thursday.

It is thought to be the first heritage display of an ongoing conflict.

Worst fighting

The interactive exhibition depicts the troops' experiences from the start of their tour of the region in April 2006.

Personal items, including worn-thin combat shirts, "contact" calendars, mugs made from mortar bomb packaging and pieces of shrapnel kept as mementos of war wounds, form part of the display.

Visitors will also be able to explore an accommodation tent in Camp Bastion, combat outposts and sangar positions, a mortar gun position and an improvised medical outpost.

Soldiers from the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, and Royal Irish Regiment assembled every structure in the display, reproducing the defensive positions they built in the country.

Exhibition organiser Major Alex Parks said: "The exhibition is completely unique... as the museum, rather then having to deal with historical records, is dealing with something that is live with guys that have just come back."

General David Richards, Nato's commander in Afghanistan, has described the fighting in Afghanistan as being some of the worst and most prolonged since World War II.

Military fatalities

During conflict, British soldiers endure days of intense fighting, are regularly woken up by attacks and often go without sleep for 24 hours.

To date there have been 68 British military fatalities in Afghanistan since the start of operations in November 2001.

Of these, 45 were killed in action or died as a result of injuries sustained in action.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has denied suggestions it is struggling to provide sufficient manpower in the dangerous battle zones of Helmand province.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
An exhibition showing conditions in Afghanistan



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