Royal Marines return to top-brass welcome

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The Independent Online

The Royal Marines who led the British deployment in Aghanistan returned to a welcome from the top brass yesterday as a new batch joined the growing multinational force.

Some 120 marines of Bravo Company, 40 Commando, landed at Exeter airport, while 87 members of the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, including 45 Gurkhas on attachment, left RAF Brize Norton.

The new troops will join the British-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which has 1,500 troops, a figure scheduled to rise to 4,500.

The Royal Marines had been away from home since August when they left for Oman to take part in an exercise. They soon found themselves called up for service in Afghanistan.

Foreign troops have been welcomed in Kabul although tensions have risen lately. Last week, a bomb exploded at the newly re-opened US embassy.