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Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand

This exhibition examines the British arrival in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2006 and the decisions that shaped the way the conflict escalated, exploring the impact this period had on those who were there and the lessons learnt from this deployment.

On display are newly acquired objects, photography and video and audio interviews, most of which have never been displayed before.

British forces were sent to Afghanistan in October 2001, and remained in the country as part of an international force tasked with helping the new government to maintain security. But in summer 2006 British troops were deployed to Helmand province.  An initial plan aimed to create a secure environment in the centre of the province for development projects to take place. However, soon after their arrival, British troops became involved in fighting with the resurgent Taliban in the north of Helmand, making attempts to carry out development work difficult and dangerous.

Today, many of the places in Helmand where British forces fought and died are still gripped by violence.  The original decision to deploy to Helmand and the strategy that followed are now under scrutiny. The men and women who served in Helmand have been deeply affected by their experiences there.

The military commitment to Afghanistan came at enormous human and financial cost. It transformed Britain’s armed forces, though some argue that it left them too focussed on one particular war.

Discover IWM London

IWM London (previously known as Imperial War Museum) tells the stories of those whose lives have been shaped by war through the depth, breadth and impact of their galleries, displays and events.

With both large-scale hardware (including the two gargantuan naval guns before the entrance) and exhibitions on the social effects of war, the Museum now covers all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces had been involved since 1914 to present day. The museum underwent a major internal redesign and refurbishment and reopened in 2014 in time for the First World War Centenary commemorations.

Visitors will be able to explore what life was like at home during the Second World War in A Family in Wartime, discover how war changed lives in the award-winning First World War Galleries, or see work by some of Britain’s most significant 20th Century and contemporary artists at IWM Contemporary.

The historical IWM London museum displays both permanent and temporary collections on wide-ranging topics and themes from war art to modern-day combat. 

Whereis it

IWM London

Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ