Members of Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ) deploy to Afghanistan.
Members of Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ) deploy to Afghanistan.

British Army to Deploy 600 Paratroopers to Afghanistan to Evacuate Civilians

Operation Pitting will be commanded from the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood and is the name for military support to the evacuation of British Nationals and former British staff eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP). This will be led by the 600 members of the Armed Forces who have already begun to deploy, with members of British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade leaving this weekend. UK paratroops will be providing force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:”We have a moral obligation to support the fearless Afghan staff and their family members, who served alongside our brave troops in Afghanistan. No one should have their lives put at risk for working with the UK Government, which is why we have significantly expanded and accelerated our dedicated resettlement scheme, deployed Home Office officials to help process British nationals for evacuation, and waived visas for their dependants.”

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British Army to withdraw from NATO mission as UK support moves to new phase in Afghanistan
British Army to withdraw from NATO mission as UK support moves to new phase in Afghanistan. The British Army has served in Afghanistan since 2001 and in that time more than 100,000 soldiers have been deployed on operations including Veritas, Fingal, Tarrock, Herrick and Toral (Photo by British Army)

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:”Protecting British Nationals and ensuring their safety as they leave Afghanistan is our top priority, which is why we are commencing Operation Pitting, for which our military are very well prepared. Over the next few weeks, we shall all do our very best to support the Afghan Government and those that have worked with us over 20 years.”

As announced yesterday, UK troops will be providing force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals where required and assist with the acceleration of the ARAP. To accelerate this process the Home Office will be deploying a small team of officials to assist the FCDO in Kabul. They will be tasked with streamlining the processing of new visas and other documents needed for British nationals, former UK staff and other eligible people to leave Afghanistan and travel to the UK.

Over 2,000 eligible local staff who supported the UK Government in Afghanistan, and their families, have been relocated to the UK since April this year. Over 3,000 locally employed civilians and their families have been relocated since 2014, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to ensuring the safety of those who supported the government. The UK urges British nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately, given the deteriorating security situation.

16 Air Assault Brigade (16 Air Asslt Bde) is a formation of the British Army based in Colchester in the county of Essex. It is the Army's rapid response airborne formation and is the only brigade in the British Army focused on delivering air assault operations.
16 Air Assault Brigade (16 Air Asslt Bde) is a formation of the British Army based in Colchester in the county of Essex. It is the Army’s rapid response airborne formation and is the only brigade in the British Army focused on delivering air assault operations.(Photo by British Army)
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