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29th Aug 2021

Last UK troops and diplomats return from Kabul as 20-year campaign ends

Danny Jones

Last UK troops leave Kabul

Now only US troops are left to evacuate the country before the Taliban’s August 31st deadline

The last British troops have now been evacuated from Afghanistan and the mass airlift operation out of Kabul Airport continues. Their departure marks the end of a 20-year presence in the country.

Remaining UK military and diplomatic personnel left the country yesterday night, marking the completion of ‘Operation Pitting‘, the largest evacuation mission since the Second World War.

The flight touched down back in Britain at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at around 8.20am this morning. The Ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow – who had been processing those fleeing the country at the airport until the last moment – was among those on the final flight.

The Ministry of Defence said the last civilian evacuation flight also left on Saturday evening, with the UK expected to have to take in around 20,000 refugees.

British troops were seen boarding a final A400M aircraft on Saturday in Kabul. More than 15,000 people have been airlifted to safety in just the past fortnight as more than 1,000 troops, diplomats and officials were sent to assist with the mass exodus following the Taliban takeover.

While huge numbers have been evacuated, there are sadly still thousands of displaced Afghans still trapped in the country, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already moved the focus to how the UK will engage with the new Taliban regime.

The PM also wrote a length statement which he shared on social media, thanking British troops other vital military personnel for not only surviving the “most arduous conditions” while serving in Afghanistan, but also for doing their “utmost to help the people of one of the poorest countries in the world”.

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