Well-wishers sending Christmas presents to soldiers in Afghanistan have been urged to stop – because they are clogging up the postal system and stopping letters and gifts from military families getting through.

Army bosses appealed for them to make donations instead.

Lieutenant Colonel Brett Duxbury, of the British Forces Post Office, said: "Unsolicited mail can seriously impact on our ability to deliver post from loved ones to personnel.

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"We do not underestimate the impact that mail from friends and family can have on morale."