16 Air Assault Brigade has provided the bulk of more than 1,000 military personnel working at Kabul Airport on Operation Pitting. Working alongside Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Border Force staff, a total of 5,725 British people, entitled Afghans and civilians from partner nations have been evacuated since the mission was launched.
I am proud of the work which our Armed Forces, who have shown professionalism and compassion in challenging circumstances. Brigadier Dan Blanchford
The Colchester-based Brigade is specially trained and equipped to respond at short notice to international crises. The troops in Kabul are providing security as well as planning, logistic, and medical support.
Brigadier Dan Blanchford, who is heading up the operation, said that troops are “delivering a highly complex and demanding mission at range and in difficult circumstances”.
“The horrific difficulties which families and individuals have in getting to the airport are clear and my men and women on the frontline have seen and witnessed some harrowing scenes,” he said. “I am proud of the work which our Armed Forces, who have shown professionalism and compassion in challenging circumstances. We are redoubling our efforts to speed up the processes and support the most vulnerable.”
The operation 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 3,100 eligible Afghans have been flown out of Kabul.
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.