UK formally ends combat mission in Afghanistan

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(CNN) — Britain formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on Sunday, when it handed over its last base to Afghan forces, the Ministry of Defense said.

Soldiers lowered for the last time both the Union flag and the American flag at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex in Helmand province, the MoD said in a statement.

Britain’s military presence moved to Helmand in 2006 to tackle an insurgency together with troops from the United States and other countries. A total of 453 UK troops have died in service in Afghanistan.

Afghan National Security Forces will take over the bases and all operations, but the UK will continue to support them in their development, the MoD said.

Already, the country’s military is handling most of its security needs.

“In June 2013 the 330,000 strong ANSF took assumed lead responsibility for security across Afghanistan and since then they have been responsible for 99% of operations,” the ministry said.

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