Afghanistan battle like First World War

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British, Afghan and coalition forces battled the Taliban at close quarters, knee-deep in mud, over Christmas in fierce trench battles reminiscent of the First World War, it has emerged.

The offensive in Afghanistan's central Helmand province involved more than 1,500 troops and was one of the largest operations mounted by Royal Marines since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

It was fought over 18 days around the town of Nad-e-Ali to capture four key Taliban strongholds.

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