British C-17, A400M and C-130 transport aircraft are operating around the clock to evacuate people from Kabul airport.
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British forces have so far flown more than 10,000 people from Kabul in the past nine days.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.”