Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 16:25 UK

Ceremony to mark Afghan transfer

Mark Carleton-Smith and Gordon Messenger
Control of operations was transferred during a ceremony in Afghanistan

A ceremony has been held in Afghanistan to mark the official end of operations for many Scots soldiers, who have handed over to a new battle group.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers, the Highlanders, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have completed their tour.

They had been battling the Taleban and training Afghan security forces.

Their work will now be taken over by 3 Commando Brigade, which features 700 marines from 45 Commando in Arbroath.

'Real progress'

The soldiers had been part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. Outgoing commander Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said: "16 Air Assault Brigade can reflect with great pride and professional satisfaction at its achievements in Helmand this year.

"The quiet resolve and sustained determination of the Task Force has been outstanding and through their selfless commitment, every soldier has played his or her part in delivering progress in support of the Afghan government.

"We also honour the memory of those members of the Task Force who have been killed and those who have been wounded. Their sacrifice and courage will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with their family and friends."

Brigadier Gordon Messenger from 3 Commando Brigade added: "I pay tribute to the sterling work carried out by 16 Air Assault Brigade over the last six months, which has delivered real progress in Helmand.

"My priority will be to continue the momentum, working closely with our Afghan and coalition partners to develop the capacity of the Afghan governance structures and security forces, and to deliver much needed stability and security to the people of southern Afghanistan".

Scots troops head to Afghanistan
02 Oct 08 |  Tayside and Central
Funeral service for Scots soldier
03 Sep 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Jackie Bird's Afghanistan diary
29 Aug 08 |  Scotland
Afghan drills vital to save lives
10 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Medal gunners recall Afghan loss
26 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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