British military personnel have been deployed to a key town amid claims the Taliban are now in control of around 65% of Helmand province.
The Ministry of Defence said the group would not take any combat role and would only provide advisory support to help local forces as they fight to take control of Sangin.
The town was the scene of fierce fighting during the Afghan campaign, with more than 100 British troops dying in and around it.
A spokeswoman said: “As part of the UK’s ongoing contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, a small number of UK personnel have deployed to Camp Shorabak in Helmand province in an advisory role.
“In total the UK has around 450 troops in Afghanistan mentoring and supporting the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and the Afghan Security Ministries.”
The Times reports the deployment included at least one SAS unit of around 30 soldiers who were backing American special forces and the Afghan National Army as they try to retake the town.
The MoD refused to comment on any operations involving the SAS.
The head of Helmand’s provincial council, Muhammad Kareem Atal, said about 65% of the region is now under Taliban control.
“In every district either we are stepping back or we are handing territory over to Taliban,” he said.
Helmand is an important base for the Taliban, as it has most of the world’s opium, which they use to fund their conflict.
On Monday six US troops have been killed in a suicide attack near Bagram Airfield.
The bomber rammed a motorbike laden with explosives into a patrol of NATO and Afghan forces near the US-run airfield, which is 30 miles north of Kabul.
NEO Monitoring Report