CAMP SHORAB, Afghanistan — For the first time since the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan in late 2014, U.S. Marines returned to Helmand province en masse Saturday as the 300-person Task Force Southwest took over the training and advising mission there.

Unlike its Marine predecessors in the region, Task Force Southwest is not a combat unit. It’s an advisory team made up of troops from different units.

The transition of authority is a routine changeover that does not change the overall number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Task Force Southwest is replacing a slightly smaller Army unit called Task Force Forge, which deployed to Helmand last year.

“We are excited to be back in Helmand, and we’re pleased to assume this mission,” said Task Force Southwest commander Brig. Gen. Roger Turner Jr. at the transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Shorab. Camp Shorab stands on land previously occupied by Camp Bastion, which was dismantled and vacated by NATO forces during the 2014 troop drawdown.

 

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