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Soldiers of the Royal Military Police with the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in eight years (PA/MoD)

Soldiers of the Royal Military Police with the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in eight years (PA/MoD)

British troops in Afghanistan have seen the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion in eight years

British troops in Afghanistan have seen the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion in eight years

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Soldiers of the Royal Military Police with the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in eight years (PA/MoD)

British troops in Afghanistan have seen the first proper snowfall in Camp Bastion in eight years.

The camp - the main British base in Helmand Province - has had its first covering of snow since it was established in 2006, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

A rare weather pattern led to the unusual event at Camp Bastion yesterday , which came less than 72 hours after the mercury hit 21C (70F).

There have been small flurries before, but it was the first proper covering for the vast camp, and saw Apache helicopters dusted with snow, while personnel took the opportunity to build a snowman.

Captain Rory O'Shea, 28, from near Maidenhead, Berkshire, who works in Task Force Helmand's headquarters - now based at Camp Bastion - said: "It was amazing to see. This is a place where the sun beats down for much of the year and it reaches more than 50C (122F) in the summer months."

He said although it gets cold and rains, until yesterday there was no snow to speak of.

The MoD said UK personnel gather detailed weather reports every day to help them plan for operations and although icy weather with snow was predicted, few expected the snow to settle.

Late December and January is often extremely cold in the area, but by July the average daily temperatures can routinely be in the high 30s or mid 40s (95F-115F).

Yesterday's unusual weather is believed to have been caused by an icy air mass pushing down from the north which met expected wet weather from the south west, creating the extreme conditions.

There are around 3,000 UK forces operating from Camp Bastion, acting as support to Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand. The drawdown of British troops from Afghanistan is currently under way and UK combat forces are due to leave the country by the end of the year.

PA Media