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'Losing people is never easy'

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The Sangin district in Afghanistan's Helmand province has become the deadliest posting for the British military. In the past month alone, six troops have been killed as the Taliban insurgents have become more active.

Reporting from Sangin, the BBC's Defence Correspondent Caroline Wyatt said that the local insurgency, funded by drug-running, is being slowly rolled-back by British troops and their Afghan allies but the Taliban are looking more disciplined and are starting to shoot back.

Colour Sergeant Gavin Patton of 3 Rifles told her that although "losing people is never easy... their loss will not be in vain and we will continue until we sort this out".

Brigadier Gordon Messenger, a spokesman for the British military, conceded on the Today programme that the security zone in the Sangin valley is just "several square kilometres" in size but added that this provides a haven for the local population.

He said that there was "a complex mix of problems" in Sangin, an area which the Taliban has chosen to contest strongly. The military strategy, he said, is to create a security situation which will allow the Afghan government to outlast the Taliban.

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