Why we are in Afghanistan
The Taliban gave safe haven to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, which allowed terrorists to plan and carry out attacks around the world. We joined many other nations in a NATO/ISAF-led military intervention to bring Al-Qaeda’s leaders to justice, remove the Taliban from control in Afghanistan and prevent the country again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
Over the last 13 years the international military campaign has reduced the terrorist threat from this region and helped train a 350,000 strong Afghan National Security Force who now have lead security responsibility for Afghanistan’s 30 million citizens. The process of handing over security to Afghan forces – ‘transition’ – has seen the international military’s role change from leading combat operations to training, advising and assisting.
International actions in Afghanistan since 2001 have significantly reduced the terrorist threat to the UK from this region. But no one could doubt the high price paid, particularly in Helmand, where UK troops have been based since 2006.
During 2014 UK troops will end combat operations and start to leave Afghanistan, closing down or handing over bases to Afghan forces. By the end of the year a small number of soldiers will remain to continue the training and development of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
At its peak, in Helmand alone there were 137 UK bases and around 9,500 UK troops. On 9 August 2013 the military headquarters of the UK’s Task Force Helmand moved from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion. The total number of our Armed Forces personnel in Afghanistan also reduced from 9,000 at the start of 2013, to around 5,200 at the start of 2014.
The UK's work in Afghanistan
This section of the website all about operations in Afghanistan has been updated with information from a joint government document entitled The UK's work in Afghanistan, link below.