US Marines have returned to Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the first to be deployed in the war-torn country since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ended its combat mission in 2014.
US General John Nicholson, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, attended a ceremony on Saturday marking the return of the Marines to Helmand, where US forces faced intense fighting until 2014.
About 300 Marines will form part of the so-called Operation Resolute Support, described by NATO as a train, advise, and assist mission consisting of over 13,000 troops.
The Marines were among the first US forces sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US. Several thousand were deployed in Helmand, only for it to slip deeper into a quagmire of instability.
The deployment came one day after the Taliban militant group announced the start of its “spring offensive,” a heightened campaign of bombings, ambush attacks, and…