British military personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand province as reports suggest the Taliban is close to overrunning Sangin town.
The Ministry of Defence said a small number of personnel had been sent to Camp Shorabak – better known as Camp Bastion – in an “advisory role”.
They will not be in combat and are part of a larger Nato team, the MoD said.
UK combat operations in Afghanistan ended last year, but about 450 troops remain in mentoring and support roles.
Helmand’s governor, Mirza Khan Rahimi, insisted the authorities were still in control of Sangin, in Helmand province, but his own deputy said the town had been overrun by Taliban militants.
The police headquarters reportedly remains under siege after a Taliban attack.
Maj Richard Streatfield, who spent seven months in Sangin in 2009 and 2010 with the Rifles, told the BBC it was “hugely disappointing” to see the town under threat again.
“I won’t deny, on a personal level, it does make you wonder – was it worth it?” he said.
“Because if the people we were trying to free Afghanistan from are now able to just take it back within two years, that shows that something went badly wrong at the operational and strategic level.”
The BBC understands there are about 10 British personnel now at Camp Shorobak.
A spokeswoman for the MoD said they would be providing advice to the Afghan National Army as part of the UK’s “ongoing contribution” to Nato’s Resolute Support mission.
They will not deploy outside the camp, she added.