Another 130 British servicemen are being sent to Afghanistan, despite a recent government claim that there were enough troops there already.
The 34 Squadron of the RAF Regiment will be sent to help protect Kandahar airfield "within the next week", the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, announced.
He described the airfield as being of "central importance to the success of the wider Nato mission in Afghanistan". It is already guarded by Afghan, Canadian, Romanian and US forces, and has been used by the UK's Harrier GR7 Force since September.
Mr Browne said: "Kandahar airfield plays an essential role in the British and Allied military commitment to the rebuilding of Afghanistan, a role that is likely to increase as the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force expands into the south. We have an special airfield defence capability that few of our partners have and the skills it would bring will enhance security arrangements at Kandahar airfield."Reuse content