What is the Outlook for the British Army in Afghanistan?
Defence Secretary Reaffirms UK Commitment to Afghanistan
Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon. Gavin Williamson, CBE, MP, visited the British Army in Kabul and met soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS), currently deployed on Operation TORAL, according to the MOD, 19 March.
The Defence Secretary also met British soldiers leading the Kabul Security Force (KSF), during his visit which saw an important meeting with his Afghan counterpart Tariq Shah Bahrami.
Afghan Security and Stability Remains Top of UK Agenda
In his meeting with Minister of Defence Bahrami, the Defence Secretary reaffirmed the UK commitment to Afghanistan, citing the continued funding for the Afghanistan National Security Forces, our support for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) and the recent uplift of UK troops to around 650.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
A secure Afghanistan will help keep the streets of Britain safe. Building the security services that will be the foundation of stability and peace in Afghanistan remains top of our agenda and I have seen first-hand the crucial role our brave Armed Forces are playing in realising that vision.
Mr Williamson also met British soldiers to talk about their role at ANAOA, helping to train the next generation of Afghanistan’s military leaders through mentoring training staff and instilling the Sandhurst ethos at the academy.
More than 3,000 officers have passed out of the academy since 2013, and, this year, ANAOA has nearly as many female cadets in training as have graduated in total since the academy opened.
Kabul Security Force
The Defence Secretary also met UK troops who lead the Kabul Security Force (KSF), which provides force protection for NATO staff in Kabul. In last five weeks alone, the KSF have undertaken over 2,800 protection journeys and Mr Williamson experienced first-hand the vital role they play, travelling with UK personnel in a Foxhound armoured vehicle.
He also commended their efforts in responding to some of the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, in which the KSF supported Afghan Security Forces by evacuating guests to safety extracted of guests following the Intercontinental Hotel terrorist attack and provided first aid to Afghan soldiers following an attack on an Afghan Army compound in January.
Supporting Resolute Support
The UK has played an important role in supporting Afghanistan over the last 16 years and is committed to continuing this in the future. Through the NATO Resolute Support Mission, the support the UK provides on issues such as security, development and governance is crucial to building a stable state and reducing the terrorist threat to the UK.
All of this means that the British Army can expect to see Operation TORAL continue into the foreseeable future.
Image: Pictured is a 2 YORKS sniper team, providing over watch security for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) 10 year graduation ceremony, which was held at their Kabul facility. The Kabul Security Force is the only British One Star command in Afghanistan and the Kabul Protection Unit is its only manoeuvre unit. Service is orientated solely around the capital and is designed to support the essential training and advice, assist effort and to deliver incident response. (Crown Copyright, 2017)