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After 13-year Afghan war, final British combat troops leave Helmand province

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LONDON — Britain's defense ministry says the last U.K. combat troops have left Afghanistan's Helmand province, ending a 13-year war that cost more than 450 British lives.

The Ministry of Defense says the final troops left Camp Bastion in helicopters and transport planes Monday, a day after the base was handed over to Afghan forces.

PHOTO: The Union Flag and Stars and Stripes at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex are lowered for the last time Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) defense officials said Sunday. The ceremony marks the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). (AP Photo/British Defence Imagery, Sergeant Obi Igbo, RLC )
The Union Flag and Stars and Stripes at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex are lowered for the last time Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. UK Armed Forces have ended combat operations in Helmand Province, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) defense officials said Sunday. The ceremony marks the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). (AP Photo/British Defence Imagery, Sergeant Obi Igbo, RLC )

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said British force "leave with our heads held high."

But many Britons question how much has been achieved by the conflict.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the "heavy price ... does not justify the heavy loss of lives."

At the peak of the deployment there were more than 10,000 British personnel in Afghanistan, most in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.

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