28 Jul 2010

Tonga soldiers to guard major British base in Afghanistan

6:06 pm on 28 July 2010

Tonga is to send a contingent of soldiers to Afghanistan in November.

Four rotations of 55 marines will form part of the guard at the main British base, Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province over the next two years.

Tonga's involvement follows a request made by the former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, with Britain paying the costs associated with the deployment.

The man who will lead the first contingent, the Tonga Defence Service's Joint Operations Commander, Colonel Siamelie Latu, says he's scoped the Camp Bastion area.

"We have been assigned a sector, an area of operations which will include the airport in Bastion Operating Base, but certainly [we] will provide force protection as well as mobile and foot patrols in our own sector."