US soldiers from the Marine Corps have returned to Afghanistan’s Helmand province nearly three years after the US-led NATO forces ended combat mission in the country.
Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson attended a handover ceremony on Saturday marking the return of the elite force, the first American soldiers to be deployed in Afghanistan since 2014, an AFP news agency photographer said.
Part of a troop rotation, they will arrive in stages, eventually numbering some 300 who will take part in NATO’s train, assist and advise mission.
The deployment to Helmand came a day after a resurgent Taliban announced the launch of their so-called Spring Offensive.
The decision to boost forces was first announced in January after Donald Trump took over as the new president of the US. He is seeking to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan.
Earlier this months, the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.
The Pentagon said it targeted a series of caves and bunkers used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL) group, whose influence has grown in recent years.