Marines, NATO Troops Exit Southern Afghanistan

Military presence lessens, but, of course, we still have troops there.


CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The NATO coalition ended its formal mission in restive and dangerous Helmand province Sunday, handing over two major bases and an airstrip to the Afghan military as U.S. Marines and British forces prepare to withdraw.

The transfer of Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, the hub for coalition forces in southwestern Afghanistan, is the most dramatic signal to date that the 13-year-old war is drawing to a close.

For now, British forces and U.S. Marines will continue to secure the perimeter of the adjoining bases while they await orders to withdraw completely. When they do, it will essentially mark the conclusion of the war in Afghanistan for the Marines and British forces, officials in both countries said.