British C-17, A400M and C-130 transport aircraft are operating around the clock to evacuate people from Kabul airport.

Intel Air & Sea, an Open Source Intelligence account covering global conflict news and  tracking military aviation and ships is following the event live, I recommend you follow them for minute by minute updates.

British forces have so far flown more than 10,000 people from Kabul in the past nine days.

Timeline

Operation Pitting is a British military operation currently ongoing to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan following the 2021 Taliban offensive. The operation consists of more than 1,000 British troops

  • A batch of British troops arrived at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on the 15th of August aboard an RAF C-17. These troops, elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade, worked with US forces to secure the airport. During the same day, Kabul, the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban shortly after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The Taliban subsequently requested a peaceful transfer of power.
    More British forces arrive at Kabul Airport
  • On the 16th of August, the first flight of 370 evacuees arrived at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England via an RAF Voyager aircraft. A total of 11 RAF aircraft, consisting of four Voyagers, four C-17s, two Atlas C1s and one Lockheed C-130 Hercules were involved in operations during the same day. The RAF also began diverting aircraft from other operations to assist. The UK Border Force also became involved with the operation to help process evacuees.
    The first Voyager evacuation flight after having landed in the UK.
  • By the 17th of August, US forces, with the support of British and allied forces, had successfully taken control of the airport. The airport subsequently became more stable, allowing the RAF to begin mass airlifts.
    British and American tarnsport aircraft conducting mass-evacuations lined up at Kabul.
  • On  the 18th of August, reports began to emerge that Taliban checkpoints outside the airport were refusing entry to some Afghans and beating women and children. During the same day, two RAF evacuation flights took place, carrying a potential maximum of 250 passengers each, which also included 76 Australians.
    British officer from 2 Para speaking with Taliban commanders near the entrance to Kabul Airport, 19th August.
  • On  the 19th of August, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that no unattended children would be permitted to fly after footage was released of desperate Afghan families handing over their children to British and US forces. It also emerged that British forces had been travelling around Kabul to collect people entitled unable to reach the airport.
    British Paratroopers in Afghanistan around the Kabul airport area
  • On the 23rd of August, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the UK had “hours not weeks” to complete its evacuations after the US announced its intensions to withdraw on the 31st of August.

What now?

Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, yesterday visited soldiers from The 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) at their base in Fort George, as they left to deploy as a high readiness reserve for Operation Pitting – the operation to evacuate British passport holders and entitled personnel and from Afghanistan.

“Eighty-four members of A Company set off from the base, just outside Inverness, for the Joint Air Mounting Centre at South Cerney, to be ready to deploy forward to Kabul at short notice, should they be required. They join around 100 their colleagues from D Company and Battalion Headquarters, who moved south at the end of last week. The same soldiers returned from Kabul at the end of June this year, where they were providing protection for the NATO training and Mentoring Mission in the city.

They have been on high readiness for deployment anywhere in the world since their return. Mr Wallace spoke to the soldiers to wish them well, before meeting staff from the Quartermaster’s Department, who had spent the previous week preparing kit and equipment in order to facilitate any short notice deployment.”

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Pete
Pete
1 month ago

The irony of 2 para relying on white pick up trucks while the TBN drive around in hummers outside is……….

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

…………absolutely ridiculous and a very clear and very sad illustration of just how big a mess this whole thing has become….

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Biden.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Not really. It’s a light airborne operation, bringing in vehicles would be a waste of space both in and especially out. 2 Para have just done the right thing and commandeered some UN or NGO owned vehicles which we will surely make inoperable on exit. This sort of thing is all deflection really. What we really need to know is why:

  1. The intel was so poor or ignored by the politicians?
  2. Did we not evacuate all these poor individuals as soon as the Doha agreement was signed?
  3. Why this Gov seems to have absolutely no influence with the American Gov?
Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

On the latter because they are a superpower and we need them more than us. Why should they listen or change policy of this magnitude for us? What would we offer in return? More f35s? Not sure that would sit well with the US people.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

Why? Maybe because they dragged us and the rest of NATO into Afghanistan in the first place.

They didn’t even have the decency to at least inform the rest of the alliance before negotiating with the Taliban. As for Biden, he could easily have informed us about when he was planning to cut all support for the Afghans, giving us a little more time to evacuate British nationals and those who helped British forces.

Damo
Damo
1 month ago

Yeah, i agree they should have. My reasons above were thoughts on why we don’t have great influence on the US government. None were meant as a slight on us, of course.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

You assume they didn’t inform us. We have a government that is so used to lying its second nature. France started pulling it’s people out in march, it’s possible they got the heads up and acted on it whilst our government was too busy on the beach / fake Scotland camping.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

That may be a point, except we don’t seem to be the only country caught off guard by the sudden pull out. If the rest of NATO knew about it, then there are serious questions to answer as to why the airport wasn’t secured much sooner and reinforced better.

Last edited 1 month ago by Christopher Allen
Steve
Steve
1 month ago

On the flip side, clearly the US knew about it and is currently in an equal mess to us, getting their people out. Just seems like everyone was relying on hope that it would be all ok, even though they seem to have known it wouldn’t

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Although to be fair, if the government had issued a warning to get out of the country weeks ago, most would have ignored it as Western nations are mostly there to make money and the local support staff call it home, it was only the pending disaster that triggered activity.

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Which would surely suggest that the decision to pull out was a sudden and unplanned one. I agree, though, nonsensical lack preplanning has resulted in the scenes we are seeing. Massive respect to the troops stationed there helping, the situation looks like it turn even worse at any moment.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Multiple policticans/miltiary guys/spy’s etc both side of the pond have come out with the ‘we didn’t expect the tailban to take over so fast’ line, which clearly indicates they did expect it to happen. To me it’s just politics/incompetence, total inertia until forced to act by external events.

AJP1960
AJP1960
1 month ago

And it should have been Bagram, not Kabul. Bagram is away from a civilian population, larger and much easier to defend.

Put the locals on the road to the airport and anyone off the road is flagged as “enemy”. I know that some of the Taliban would have “mingled” but Bagram was a far easier airport to defend and also had 2 runways, or 1 runway and a taxiway that would probably have sufficed as one in an emergency

AJP1960
AJP1960
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

British citizens were advised in April this year that they should pack up and leave. I’m guessing that many wanted to leave it until the last minute, perhaps in hope/expectation that the situation would change

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

I don’t think Blair required any dragging Christopher, if dumbo Bush Junior had called, ‘Cool Britannia’ Tony in 2001 and said we need to deploy to the North Poll to eliminate the threat from Santa, the RM Arctic and Mountain Warfare Corps would have been traipsing around the Arctic in skis looking Santas workshop…..

That warmonger needed no excuse….

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

We are on our own to a large degree these days, and although I fear for the future I am happy that the UK will not blindly follow the US’ so called “leadership.” That’s a joke these days. If they could have nailed and left UK behind pretty sure they would have. And it’s not the US troops it’s the US politicians. The troops are by and large marvelous and just as brave as our troops.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Dont disagree on the other issues you raise Rob but I do disagree on the original issue. After the initial deployment ample flights coming in empty that could be used to bolster the kit, mobility and protection on the ground. …foxhound? Even if some of the smaller 40+ year old APC craft being phased out shortly had been brought in and left behind / destroyed it would provide utility and change the optics. Looking to the future Ajax as a reconnaissance/ medium fire support asset is too heavy for RAF heavy lift. I agree there has to be a thorough… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Purely military flights coming in have troops, medical supplies, ammunition, rations & even water. Flights out just personnel. So the extra space for light vehicles is limited. If you put in light tanks you also increase the lift in terms of fuel, ammo & REME. Not worth it for what we are trying to do.

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Agree on your later points. Disagree on original response. Subsequent flights after initial deployment were coming in empty. Could have included some light APC, even if just some of the 40 + year old outgoing stuff that if you had to you leave behind / destroy. Would have provided protection if required, mobility and have changed the optics….which perhaps is linked to your third point! I read a US article at weekend that the para deployment is well appreciated and has partly offset US view that British Army when in Afghanistan previously was generally under manned and under equipped to… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

That is kinda in hindsight though. If it had got messy the lack of vehicles and attack helicopters etc sent would have been a major problem.

When the dust settles it will be interesting to know exactly what kit was sent, did we totally rely on the US to provide the force multipliers or did we also send our own.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Spot on Rob.

Derek
Derek
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Biden spoke to no-one for 36 hours after his incompetent decision, so NO other gov has influence. The first person he finally spoke to? Boris.

simon
simon
1 month ago

The C130’s that we are about to get rid off!!

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  simon

File that one under irony….. sad thing is, they will still be binned when all this blows over. So much for ‘lessons learned’.

Andy B
Andy B
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Others have commented that those air frames are approaching end of life and aren’t economically viable to keep. Whatever, this whole situ does highlight the need for strategic airlift capability so I hope someone in Whitehall is keeping count and taking stock of the enablers we need for these kind of unexpected missions.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy B

Agreed Andy. If the airframes are at or close to end of life, that’s fine but serious thought should be given to replacing to maintain the overall airlift capability.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago

To reflect on some background here. Although my politics are right of the centre I was glad to see Biden replace Trump.He has,an intellect and presence that it would be an understatement to say was missing in Trump, but the way this issue has been handled is nothing short of disastrous. Even though the collapse of the ANA was something that appears to have surprised even the Taliban, Bidens failure was down to his refusal to listen to his own military advisors-an arrogant page one error. But the biggest shock of all when you think of it-how does a ragtag… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by geoff
James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Exactly it doesnt add up, definitely a bigger picture being played out in the back ground.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Its all these super moons causing a rush of blood to the head…😉

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

It just comes down to the Taliban willing to do stuff that people in the west would not accept of our own forces. Plus using our rules of engagement against us. Think back to sadam hiding scud missiles in schools and hospitals, which the west was unable to bomb. It’s why it required the northern alliance to beat the tailban originally as they were willing to fight at the same level. Additionally, if you are captured fighting against the west you are put into a relatively nice prison and fed etc, captured by the tailban and your tortured, your family… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

They maybe have a bit more support than we’re led to believe in the The West Geoff. I’m sure most of the city dwellers are a bit more enlightened than their country cousins but its the country cousins that have been interacting with the Taliban. They maybe don’t have any great love for them but they just get on as best they can with the ‘guys with the guns’.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Good points Andy and Steve!

Last edited 1 month ago by geoff
Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

An intellect? He’s long been known as a bit dim and now he is demonstrably senile. A presence? He looks increasingly like someone who has wandered out of his old people’s home and is now lost. This shambles cannot however be just down to him. He doesn’t run operations in detail. The decision to leave and the date were announced months ago and even postponed from May. So US military commanders had ample time to prepare but seem not to have done. Why wasn’t Bagram held to facilitate withdrawal? Why, with the experience of driving out the Taliban in 2001… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

ANA not AFC

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Just one comment Peter. I agree that Joe Biden is showing signs of some possible age related condition but in an “all other things being equal” sense, he is an educated and intelligent man particularly when compared to Trump whose unscripted efforts from the podium and bizarre decisions put him in a class of his own!!

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Even Wikipedia notes Biden was a poor student graduating nearly bottom of his class. His electoral appeal was mainly that he wasn’t Trump rather than any discernible qualities of his own. Even the absurdly biassed main stream media is starting to have doubts.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

True, but on the other hand, Winston Spencer Churchill finished third from bottom of his class at Sandhurst😃
ps I am no great fan of Biden and agree with your remark about’anyone but Trump’

Last edited 1 month ago by geoff
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Geoff, some thoughts on your points. I too was glad to see Biden replace Trump. Biden is an inclusive unifier and that is surely what the United States need. I think I am right in saying that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was the only Trump policy that Biden did not reverse. But I don’t think we can infer that his motivation was the same. Trump was motivated by ‘America First’ i.e. selfishness. I think Biden also is conscious of America’s economic health but more motivated by feelings of compassion for families of casualties. Another consideration which has not been discussed… Read more »

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Thank you Paul-serious post. One is tempted to conclude simplistically-the whole world is a f*** up and that’s it! I think Biden, as with Carter,has been a victim of timing and the randomness of events. If the ANA had managed to hold the line then he would have gained kudos for extricating the Americans relatively painlessly. Perhaps the Taliban will be able to lead a successful nation but with features that we in the West find hard to swallow. A simple analogy and question I often ask myself about we ‘settlers’ here in Africa. Would it have been better if… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Morning Geoff, Well indeed the world is a mess, but as Thomas More prayed ( before he lost his head) ..give me a soul that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil but seeks rather the means to put things back in their place. Thanks to the sacrifices made by men and women of the west a corner is being turned in Afghanistan. I believe what has happened is that over the last 20 years our courage and generosity has earned the respect of the people of Afghanistan and of the Taliban. You are right to highlight Africa. The… Read more »

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul. Ah Thomas More-a man of much wisdom. My kids went to the Thomas More School here in KZN. And then we have Dylan Thomas-“Rage rage against the dying of the light…” a line so apt for these interesting and dangerous times. Cheers from Durban

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
1 month ago

I’m hoping this debacle puts an end to foreign adventurism with the US unless this directly involves UK assets and interests. Given that the US asked for our help in both Iraq and Afghanistan as part of their warn on terror (as political cover) their approach has been been disgraceful to us. We need to pick very carefully whether their interests align with ours for any future military action. The fact that the US said “like it or lump it you can stay behind in Afghanistan if you want” and didn’t include us in any discussions with the Taliban clearly… Read more »

Andy B
Andy B
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

You’re spot on there, this so called ‘special relationship is uni-directional and always has been. Charts back as far as the lend lease programme that pretty much bankrupt UK post WW2. Our economic standing very rarely benefits from any alliance with the US and diplomatically it’s an unending car crash when you look at these recent foreign ventures.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I made a similar point earlier. It is a mistake for the UK to align itself so closely to the USA that our support for a policy over which we have little say and even less control is taken for granted. Our tilt to Asia Pacific is to me an unnecessary and dangerous extension of this rather than a proper judgement of how we ought to deploy our military resources in our own interests.Slightly surprisingly, Lloyd Austin has said he would rather see European allies concentrate their forces closer to home than make token contributions to American power in the… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Agreed 100%

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Whenever I hear someone ‘never an American’ use the phrase ‘special relationship’ I assume he’s about to drop us into a pile of excrement that has just popped into a US presidents head. The phrase was, is and always will be nonsense.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Hope someone is going pony up the money to replace the c-17’s we have over half the fleet flying a lots of cycles which won’t have been planned for meaning they will need more maintanence or replacing (oh wait no more c-17’s being made now!) so we might need to grab some more A400’s quick so we can reduce the C-17 fatigue and keep the capability available for longer

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Hi, Mr. Wallace. Can you pretty please reverse the moronic decision to cut the Hercules fleet? If you truly want to support our current operations, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, support a Royal Navy with ships, sailors and marines dotted around the globe, and invest in ‘Global Britain’, cutting perhaps one of our greatest assets isn’t the way to go. The transport fleet is highly capable and able to respond to a variety of situations (many of which are unexpected) as highlighted here. If you want to replace them with 14 A400M/secondhand C-17 airframes, I won’t mind. Kind regards,… Read more »

Nick Paton
Nick Paton
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Good Day! I agree with a lot of comments! However it’s nothing new! To have a world standing the British forces should have financial and sufficient political support! They do not is the simple answer! The present Government is not capable despite there comments! Digitalization seems there only course The present Government had lots of time to take care of the Afghan people who supported our forces and Political /Social thinking ! They left it far to late as always! A balls up one could say! When will HMG learn? Never it’s always the same bla bla! Only for Political… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Nick Paton
Andy B
Andy B
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Ok where do I sign for this…

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy B

Pop by if you want. Lusty, 15 Credibility Street. I’ll draw up the petition there. If you’re interested, I also have one for a fleet of 32 Escorts as well.