More Welsh Guards Arrive in Afghanistan
British Army Increases Op TORAL Commitment with 100 More Soldiers
100 Welsh Guards arrived in Afghanistan last week as part of Operation TORAL. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson travelled with them for a three-day visit to the country.
The 100 soldiers from the Welsh Guards are the first of the additional 440 troops Prime Minister Theresa May committed to NATO’s capacity building mission in Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in July. The increased deployment now makes the UK the third largest contributor to international security operations in Afghanistan with around 1,100 personnel.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
We remain absolutely committed to building an Afghanistan that is a strong security partner for decades to come. A secure and stable Afghanistan helps keep the streets of the UK safe.
The uplift of UK personnel not only underlines our commitment to Afghanistan and regional security, but also to the Alliance that has been the cornerstone of our defence for 70 years. Thousands of our personnel stand shoulder-to-shoulder with NATO allies around the world. Those here in Afghanistan are just one example of Global Britain in action.
The additional troops will bolster the UK’s existing contribution to the UK-led Kabul Security Force (KSF), which plays a critical role in enabling NATO advisors in the city to undertake engagement with the Afghan Government. They will also continue to mentor the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who are responsible for security in the capital.
In April, the British Army announced that soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Welsh Guards (1 WG), had assumed responsibility as part of the Kabul Protection Unit, relieving the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS). For the rest of their tour the guardsmen will be in Kabul protecting UK and Coalition mentors as they assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in securing their country.
WIlliamson also travelled to Mazar-e-Sharif where the British Army is working alongside the German Bundeswehr to oversee the expansion of the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF). The force has recently illustrated its increased capability in responding to the InterContinental Hotel and Kabul Military Academy attacks. He met around 40 UK advisors who have been based in the north of the country since January 2018.
Williamson also met President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, underlining the UK commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan.