A fleet of planes and helicopters has airlifted the last US and British forces from Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.

UK troops witnessed the lowering of the Union flag at the base for the last time.

British Army leaves Afghanistan
British troops lower the Union Flag during a ceremony marking the end of operations for US Marines and British combat troops in HelmandReuters

The handover of the base to Afghan control ends an important chapter in the 13-year campaign, which started after the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001.

Helmand was a major focus of a troops surge to wrest control back from the Taliban in 2006. At its height, the Nato-led force had some 140,000 military personnel from nearly 50 nations. Camp Bastion and Camp Leatherneck alone once had 40,000 military personnel and civilian contractors as the regional headquarters for the international military coalition.

Britain suffered 453 fatalities during the campaign. The vast majority of the fatalities happened in Helmand province.

British Army leaves Afghanistan
US Marines board a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft headed to Kandahar as British and US forces withdraw from Camp BastionAFP
British Army leaves Afghanistan
US Marines sit inside the cargo hold of a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft headed to KandaharAFP
British Army leaves Afghanistan
US Marines are seen on board a helicopter at Kandahar air base upon the end of operations for the Marines and British combat troopsReuters
British Army leaves Afghanistan
US Marines lower their flag during a handover ceremony in HelmandReuters
British Army leaves Afghanistan
Vehicles are packed as troops leave the Camp Bastion-Leatherneck complex at Lashkar Gah in Helmand provinceAFP
British Army leaves Afghanistan
A British military officer stands in front of the Union Flag in KandaharAFP
British Army leaves Afghanistan
A British soldier gives the thumbs-up after arriving at Kandahar Airbase, at the end of operations for US Marines and British combat troops in HelmandReuters
British Army leaves Afghanistan
British soldiers carry their gear after arriving in KandaharAFP
British Army leaves Afghanistan
British troops prepare to depart upon the end of operations at Camp BastionReuters
British Army leaves Afghanistan
British soldiers arrive at Kandahar air base at the end of operations in HelmandReuters