The move is part of a restructuring of Nato forces, with command and control in southern Afghanistan split into two. UK forces currently take orders from Maj Gen Nick Carter, in charge of operations in the south. Maj Gen Carter will now oversee Kandahar, while Maj Gen Richard Mills from the US will take on Helmand.
The command of the 1,100-strong British battle group based in Sangin – an area which has seen a number of UK deaths recently – and in Kajaki will also come under US-led force from 1 June.
Asked about the changes at a news conference in Berlin, Prime Minister David Cameron said the move “does make good sense in terms of maximizing the impact of what both we and the Americans are doing in the southern part of the country, which is absolutely vital”.
“British and American troops have been working together in many theaters over many decades and don’t have a problem working together,” he said.
The changes were announced by Maj Gen Gordon Messenger, who told a news conference in central London that the changes made “complete sense” and were
“The span and complexity of the command challenge in southern Afghanistan has increased enormously in recent months and these changes provide the best command support to the troops on the ground,” he added.