ALDERSHOT troops flew to Afghanistan this week as preparations for an international security force intensify.

Twenty-five soldiers from 9 Para Squadron Royal Engineers and "a handful" from 7 Royal Horse Artillery left RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire early on Tuesday.

They were part of a 300-strong British contingent heading to Bagram airfield, to the north of Kabul.

Other elements on the flight included crack troops from Colchester-based 2Bn, The Parachute Regiment and the headquarters of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

The Aldershot soldiers have spent the last few days preparing the airfield and the surrounding area to receive a larger force of up to 1,500 British security troops.

Britain will lead the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for three months. The role will then be handed to another country.

Royal Marines from 40 Commando have been in Afghanistan since December 22, providing temporary security until the ISAF deploys.