WASHINGTON: Some 300 US Marines will head to Helmand province in Afghanistan this spring to help a NATO-led mission to train Afghan forces, the Marines said on Friday. The move puts Marines back in Helmand, who left in 2014 as NATO withdrew its forces and let Afghan troops lead the fight against the Taliban. They were among the first US forces sent to Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States. Several thousand were deployed in Helmand, an opium-producing region, where they engaged in bitter combat with the Taliban insurgency. The administration of outgoing President Barack Obama had hoped to withdraw most US military forces from Afghanistan by now, leaving behind just a small force. But the United States still has some 8,400 military personnel in the country, and is now returning the Marines to Helmand.