A service has been held to mark two decades since the start of the war in Afghanistan that led to the deaths of more than 450 British personnel.

The US-led coalition began airstrikes on airports and terrorist training camps in the country on October 7, 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.

Wreaths were laid in memory of the 457 British troops who died in the campaign at the Bastion Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial near the Ministry of Defence in central London.

In August, the Taliban, driven out of power by the invasion, retook Kabul and have since declared an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Speaking to The Advertiser at the time, a North Hampshire army veteran who served in Afghanistan said he was "shocked" at the scenes.

Lance Corporal Alex Lee said: “I am shocked with what’s going on out in Afghanistan at the moment, but it’s hard to do anything when you’re out of service and back home.

"It’s hard, it’s upsetting. The time that we spent out there to support Afghan people, to see that it’s rolled back in the space of a few days has really been quite depressing to watch to be honest.”

Alex, who served in the Helmand province in 2013 and was part of the group who helped move the British HQ from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion, added: “I saw people who were a force of good, and it just seems to have gone to waste in a matter of days.

“For a young generation of people, those born from 2001 onwards, they have gained some sense of security. There are women, girls, children who have had security, stability. We have seen reports of how it is changing in Kabul over the last few days - before it was busy on the streets and now people have retreated, and gone back to more traditional clothing because they are scared for their lives.”