Camp Bastion is the largest military base in Afghanistan and is only getting bigger.

The influx of 10,000 additional US troops has seen the base's expansion get underway.

Leatherneck, as the new American section of the base is called, will be home to the thousands of extra troops brought into the country in the hope it will have the same effect as it did in Iraq.

I was given a guided tour of the three by five kilometre base to get a feel for what goes on here and how everyday life is for the average soldier.

With its various areas for helicopter landings, resupply drops, dog training and cook houses serving 4,000 meals three times a day, the size of it can only be truly understood by driving around it, albeit it at the 24kph speed limit.

British troops wander around the base, preparing for missions, relaxing, even finding time for an impromptu football match.

They, unlike their American counterparts, do not carry arms in the base.

At their disposal are games rooms, air conditioned coffee shops and tents, shops selling everything from chicken and mushroom Pot Noodles and cans of Coca Cola to video cameras, military issue boots, copies of OK magazine and DVD rentals.

I sat in the coffee shop, much like those you would find on the high street in Croydon if it wasn't for the American Marines sitting on leather couches with their M4 assault rifles slung lazily on their shoulders, or propped up in gun rack I could have almost forgotten I was in Afghanistan.

Close by, Afghan market traders hold stalls here where they give the coalition forces the feeling of getting a good deal while charging the earth for fake Sony headphones and Oakley sunglasses.

The traders are permitted to sell their goods to the soldiers in the base and make a tidy profit from them.

What they charge for a pair of headphones, $10, would feed the average Afghan family for two months.

There is even a Pizza Hut selling the same pizzas that can be ordered over the phone in Britain out of a converted cargo container.

I was treated to a roast dinner with all the trimmings, dry chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy and for desert a slice chocolate fudge cake with half melted ice cream.

Life in Camp Bastion although hot, desolate and isolated from the outside world is at least, for those lucky enough to be here and not in a patrol base, comfortable and punctuated with creature comforts such as air conditioned tents, showers, proper toilets and well cooked meals.

As the night drew to a close I was invited to a repatriation ceremony for a soldier killed by a IED.

Twenty-year-old Lance Corporal Kieron Hill died on May 28 on a planned mission in Garmsir, Helmand Province.

At 12pm around 150 soldiers, including those from his regiment, the 2nd battalion Mercians, lined the way to a C17 aircraft to take the man who died doing what he loved to his family and friends waiting in England.

The solemn and touching ceremony saw comrades of the fallen soldier line up either side of the Union Flag wrapped coffin as the pall bearers marched slowly towards the waiting plane.

It was a personal and private ceremony that I was privileged to be invited to and witness but I felt slightly like an intruder on the soldiers' grief.

As the coffin was carried into the aeroplane the sound of the bugle played was almost drowned out by the low, deep thud of Apache and Chinook helicopters returning from a mission.

Although certainly not the first and definitely not the last, the young man's death was as sad as any other that has been or is yet to be.

The cost of bringing stability and reconstruction to the Afghan people is a high one, and one that has been paid for with the lives of both coalition as well as Afghan forces and in time one that will hopefully, for the sake of the families of the fallen, be a cost that is worthwhile.

• Our reporter Harry Miller will be filing daily bulletins on life from Helmand Province. Check back here for the latest.