Turkey and trimmings flown in for UK troops in Afghanistan

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Media captionSoldiers serving in Afghanistan will fit festive activities around their daily duties

All UK servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan have enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch after a major logistical effort.

Turkey, potatoes and mince pies were among the items flown into the country by the armed forces, to bring a little festive cheer to the troops.

Military chefs travelled to forward operating bases to ensure everyone got a freshly-cooked meal.

About 9,000 UK service personnel are currently deployed in Afghanistan.

Carol services, pantomimes and sporting competitions were also staged at many military outposts.

At the main operating base in Lashkar Gah, troops took part in the Lash Dash, a 5km Christmas Day fun run with prizes for the best costumes.

Major Mark Yates, who serves with 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was among a group of personnel putting on a production of the pantomime Aladdin in Lashkar Gah.

The 40-year-old from Manchester said: "We're all away from our families but we want to make sure we remember Christmas as it is a link with home.

"Many of us have young children and would probably have gone to see a panto at this time of year.

"It's been a bit of fun between work but not at the cost of any of our operations."

About 130 tonnes of Christmas post has been delivered to bases around the country from friends, family and well-wishers.

Senior-ranking officers in the British army kept up the tradition of serving their soldiers tea and coffee on Christmas morning.

Task Force Helmand spokesman Major Laurence Roche said: "It's always tough being away from home at Christmas.

"We have a job to do here but we make sure that as many people as possible get to sit down and have a big Christmas lunch.

"Every effort is made to ensure the troops enjoy the day and in some small way bring a little bit of home to Afghanistan," he added.