Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) have deployed from their base in Cyprus to Kabul on Operation Pitting, which, in the first ten days, evacuated a total of 11,474 British people, entitled Afghans and civilians from partner nations.
In total more than 1,000 military personnel are on the ground at Kabul Airport, mostly from 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s Global Response Force. Working alongside Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Border Force staff, troops are both protecting the operation and providing planning, logistic, and medical support.
The last few days have seen 2 YORKS do brilliant things to get our soldiers ready and deployed out to Afghanistan. Those in Kabul are working tirelessly, in the most desperate and testing of conditions, to get people out. Lt Col James Ashworth
One of 2 YORKS’ particular roles in Kabul is moving, processing and supporting evacuees as they go from handling centres to the airport and then on to RAF aircraft, using vehicles that the soldiers have affectionately called ‘White Rose Taxis’.
Lieutenant Colonel James Ashworth, 2 YORKS’ Commanding Officer, said: “The last few days have seen 2 YORKS do brilliant things to get our soldiers ready and deployed out to Afghanistan. Those in Kabul are working tirelessly, in the most desperate and testing of conditions, to get people out.”
2 YORKS arrived in Cyprus late into 2020 to provide the security and protection of strategic assets on the island as the resident infantry battalion, but also to be at very high readiness to respond to crises in the Middle East.
Lt Col Ashworth continued: “It is a busy time for the Battalion and a remarkable achievement that we are currently delivering on several operational commitments in different countries at the same time. We are maintaining our continued readiness for operations in the region in Cyprus; helping the evacuation in Kabul; and supporting Op KIPION in Bahrain, the Royal Navy-led mission to protect shipping lanes in the Gulf.”
Op Pitting was launched on Friday 13 August amid the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which meant the safety of British people in the country could no longer be assured. At the same time the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) has been accelerated, to help interpreters and other Afghan staff who risked their lives working alongside British forces, relocate to the UK. More than 6,946 eligible Afghans had been flown out of Kabul within the mission’s first 10 days.
The evacuation will run as long as the security situation allows in joint coordination with our US partners. No firm date has yet been set for the end of evacuation flights.