7,109 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan under Operation PITTING, including more than 4,200 Afghans and their families.

Additionally, more than 1,000 British Armed Forces personnel have now been deployed in Kabul.

7,109 people have been evacuated under Operation PITTING, which commenced on Friday 13 August (that includes more than 4,200 Afghans and their families)
more than 1,000 UK Armed Forces personnel have been deployed in Kabul

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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Steve
Steve
1 month ago

If you needed a specular message that the UK armed forces are no longer a force to worry about, this would be it. Our PM/defence minister/foreign minister publicily confirming to the world that we do not have enough asssts to protect an airport to continue the evac alone, once the US pulls out, clearly demonstrates our inability to be a credible miltiary force in 2021. This won’t happen (our media doesn’t seem capable these days of holding the government accountable), but serious questions should be asked after this, as to why we were unable to get the remaining Brits out,… Read more »

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

There’s only a handful of countries that could do something like this singlehandedly, I wouldn’t read too much into it as its as much to do with political will as a perceived lack of capability. I’m not slagging the UK government for that, what would the UK get out of going in guns blazing and taking casualties to extract a few thousand people. Its not going to win many votes at home against a vague ‘sign of weakness’ on something that isn’t a massive deal to a lot of people here.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

A grown up has entered the room.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

The BBC knocked out an article yesterday about Afghans who had found safety in the Uk this past week telling their story, and then I came across this:

E9f22veXsAQnDjs.png
Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

All i keep seeing are Men with babies in UK Hotels saying they made it. where is the babies mother ?????

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Even the US has said holding the airport is meaningless if the taliban attack there’s no way to get people through to the airport so holding it becomes irrelevant. Yes the US could drive the Taliban back but they’re in Kabul now and will shelter near civilians making airstrikes at best risky but more likely deadly for civilians. Alternatively the US forces do it street by street. The point of the airlift is to save lives not cost lives. No country UK, US will fair well if the Taliban decide to attack and Afghani civilians will be far worse off.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

A mortar or two could turn the airfield into chaos. It could even damage the runway enough to prevent the aircraft from taking off and landing. The only card that the US (and hangers on) could play is an invasion and we’re not likely to do that as long as we’re being allowed to take our people out the country.

We’ll all have to take this one on the chin. The illiterate goat herders have won. Again.

Steve R
Steve R
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

We could easily put 5,000 troops into there to protect the airport; the government just isn’t willing to.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Not sure we could realistically. We don’t have the heavy lift capability of lifting that many troops in and out safely. We also don’t have the air assets to protect them, which the US is currently providing.

Whilst I agree not many countries could achieve this, the point is still being made that we aren’t one of them.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The better message our policticans could have been giving off was that we were discussing closely with our US allies/partners and our common agreement is to pull out together. Rather than giving the message that we are begging them to stay longer. Whether either message is the full truth who cares, this is polictics.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Geoff Hoon admitted we would no longer be able to conduct major ops alone years ago. Nothing new.

If this creates a stink over lack of assets then good show but media need to highlight.

And hey presto! Another 14 transports about to disappear without replacement.

Last edited 1 month ago by Daniele Mandelli
Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Agreed, if the media do their job and question the government on why we couldn’t get everyone out, then it will be a good outcome. The issue with cutting capability, is you get away with it until you don’t in style, and unfortunately (or luckily I guess as it didn’t go badly wrong) I suspect this isn’t the case here, the gov will continue to get away with cuts without being properly questioned over it. Our media is not neutral, as has been shown by the shocking lack of reporting on all the corruption happening the last 18months in regards… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The media is an easy target (I should know, I call them for all sorts  😂 ) but they’re also a ‘business’ and there are more people interested in what Kim Kardashian is up to than how our military is being used or funded. Especially funded. Its never going to be as sexy as the NHS (or Kim Kardashian) so the media tell the stories that people want to hear.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

This is fair but doesn’t explain why they didn’t report on all the corrupted government contracts that resulted in money not going to the NHS or the cuts to NHS income after all their buses explaining it would be increased. It’s not just glamour it’s also incompetence and/or open bias.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Yeah I don’t disagree, there have been a lot of shenanigans going on, its disappointing that all sorts of stuff kind of slides under the radar unless you read Private Eye or the like. I can’t even pretend that I know the answers, but have you seen who’s appearing on ‘Strictly’ ???? OOOOH ! Its quite frightening but we do live in a fantastically decadent and entitled society (at least a lot of us do) in The West and really don’t have to care about stuff that doesn’t impact our comfortable lives (yeah it was only Spain this year for… Read more »

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

And most of our papers have political allegiances which undermines their credibility

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

Yes mate, most of the papers editors will have their orders, I don’t know a way round that, whether is The Press or TV/radio or some dude on youtube, everyone has their biases and prejudices. Fortunately there are that many alternatives now, you can find a source that resonates with your personal biases and prejudices…

Its all become a bit of a game.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago

Yes mate, I wasn’t aware that the MOD signed a £110 million contract in 2017 to upgrade the C130’s to push their OSD to 2035ish!!!
Seems a totally Barking decision in vue of this upgrade!
I know that deleting the entire fleet saves money, we will undoubtedly get a few quid by selling them on, but still, talk about wasting money and losing capabilities…….
I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t even more bad news to come, we shall see, it’s enough to get totally p***ed off about.

simon
simon
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Totally nuts, having spent £110 million on them for 4 years service.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

14 HERCS. due for replacement by the A400s any idea what a C130J 2nd hand vale is as a guide

https://www.platinumfighters.com/inventory-2/1958-lockheed-c-130a-%22hercules%22-

Now RAF doesn’t want to keep the Herc as the Army wont pay for the special ops.

Recent MOD Sale was for a c130 value are £150m plus

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

TBH Johan, its not the cost of the refurb that gets my goat, its the lack of a replacement wrt actual numbers. Believe we have all our A400s now, and not sure if they are all at FOC or not! In 2017 we needed the Hercs, payed £110 mill to take them to 2035ish, along with our A400/C17 fleets, suddenly we dont need them!!!! Were not going to buy any more A400’s, the C17 production line is closed now I believe, so no more from there either. The US is already looking beyond 2030 for a replacement for both their… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

Spot on Daniele, it highlights our lack of airlift.

I don’t have a particular axe to grind re getting shot of the C130’s, as long as all the latent capabilities of the A400 are realised and another 8 A400’s ordered to replace the lost capability.

It shows we could probably use another 10, to make up a fleet of 40 A400’s and I would ask the US for any additional C17’s we could buy.

Airlift is a massive force multiplier, possibly the most important and we better make sure we have enough…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Agree John. I place ISTAR and transport assets above fast jets in my wish list, just for their peace time utility in situations other than war.

Never cut enablers! Which the UK does all the time.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

We have plenty of assets to take 7000 men in c17 400’s hercs, voyagers but to what ends? Dead troops, hostages, firefights, get a grip we are leaving not fighting another war

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Then what, the Taliban stop all from getting to the airport. The Taliban dig in near or with Afgan poplalation making airstrikes impossible. They periodical shell runway. There’s no point holding an airport if you can’t evac civilians the US knows this.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Read up on Khe San.
That was held by using massive air power and arty in a fortified combat Base .
Kabul airport is none of those. It is not fortified, sits in the middle of a city and there are no B52s on hand to drop 30 tons of bombs per aircraft. Neither is there a ready supply line for resupply.

As it was the US pulled out of Khe San later on because they could not justify staying there on the strategic level.

By the way its a great battle field tour if you ever visit Vietnam.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve R

Voyager Fleet Of 8 + 1 each can carry 290 passengers =2320 troops in one day. but lightly armoured and armed. it’s a 12-hour flight one way.

so yes you could put 5000 troops into Kabul

BUT WHAT FOR, there isn’t 5000 UK staff or Migrants left,

USA has light fighting vehicles and everything required there, ATC/and Airport service equipment to Portaloos. its not just about boots on the ground.

THERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE IN SETTING UP CAMP.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The truth is we can only hold the airport open with or without the US if:
The Taliban agree to it.
OR
We clear the mortar and rocket belt around the airfield by force of arms (which would be self defeating as we would be back at war and the refugees wouldn’t get to the airport, not to mention we’d be holding an airhead with no way out).

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

It seems unlikely but not completely impossible that we might see the answer to that. The tailban don’t appear to be backing down and the US has said it will stay as long as needed to get all US citizens out. I suspect they will quietly back down from that statement as the 31st arrives, or the Taliban will grant an extension, we will see. It seems nuts that over 20 years, the allies didn’t create a improvised evac airstrip/ site away from the mountains, that could be used to continue the operation or maybe they did and it will… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Saw a satellite photo on Twitter, but forget where, of a remote strip ( I think in Afghanistan ) with what looked like a single C17.

Contingency. SF insertion or extraction. Who knows.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve maybe but we can’t afford to take risks, it only takes a few mortar bombs on the strip and the whole operation is in deep manure. No, I think it would be best to stick to the deal and get our forces out safely. Remember once out we can go back in to rescue people at a time and place of our choosing if necessary.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

I totally agree, it’s not the timing that concerns me, it’s the statements we couldn’t stay without the US involvement. Our government need to man up and take responsibility for once, and just come out with a statement that we are doing all we can to get everyone out, but extending past the deadline puts innocent afgans at risk and this would not be the advisable thing. Rather than blaming the US and making us look weak and lame plus clearly showing the special relationship means nothing. It wouldn’t even break the normal Boris approach of never taking responsibility, as… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Agree. People seem to be missing the point that we’ve had months to get these people out since the Doha agreement. It’s not the Armed Forces fault but the politicians. This operation should have started in early spring. The Gov also ignored an open letter from 40 top UK ex-generals saying they needed to get their skates on.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

And foreign contractors not wanting to give up their lucrative tax free salaries.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Expat

If the company you work for stays so do the blokes, if the Company says we go, we go. But yes the money is good and it’s human nature to not want it to end. In fact a good number of PMCs are assisting UK/US forces with security and escort jobs. Glad I moved on from Afghan to another contract a few years back. Cheers mate.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Rob,
The Uk knocked out a white paper on 01/04/21 regards the relocation of Afghans , thatw as working fine and saw 2000 Afghans and their families relocated to the Uk until the Sniffer in chief decided to pup all US troops out without informing anybody on 09/07/21. It was that action which resulted in a loss of confidence and saw the Afghan Military fall like a house of card.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971252/afghan-locally-employed-staff-relocation-schemes-v2.0-gov-uk.pdf

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

No one expected the Taliban to retake the country in a matter of a week either.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

OUR KIT and stuff has been coming back for months, Puma helicopters arrived back last month. trucks/jeeps and other equipment has been arriving via the Antonov 224.

its the collapse of the AFF, when approached by a kid with a water pistol.

And people running because the money has left

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

its nothing to do with MANNING UP, that’s 5000 UK troops your playing with 5000 families wives and kids.

and for what TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD.

Go play a war game keyboard dont fight back…..idiot

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The issue with that would be that Kabul is surrounded by mountains, and the only flatter area is to the East, but its still within the confines of the Kabul area and therefore getting people actually out of Kabul, to the possible evac strip, would still be an issue, same as getting people into Kabul airport. Either way, Kabul airport is the only feasible option, its just weve all made a bad situation worse by not forecasting what could happen and prepare accordingly. Total shambles in fact. Cheers.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Camp Bastion…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

There was/is an amazing airport at Camp Bastion.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

From experience IMHO we could, but, at the moment they are trying to ensure it doesnt go to shit and become kinetic. We do have the assets, but not the will, either logisiticaly or manpower wise, to redirect said assets at short notice. We are lacking depth and serious gaps in our capabilites, of course and ive stated and moaned about that so often, but, if we did it alone it would HAVE to get messy to ensure the safety or the people on the ground, and their is certainly no politcal will to lose people, face and money doing… Read more »

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Considering the number of people The UK has there, and why did we have 7 x the number of Afghans working, SORRY being paid to RUN. WHY DO WE NEED TO EXTEND. that date has been quite clear UK KIT was arriving back last month. So far all i have seen is fathers with kids in hotels. ?????? were are women. or are they fighting for there country.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Don’t think it’s anything to do with assets or capabilities. We could replace all 7000 us troops in an instant but what happens politically when US leave, we are on own and taliban attack cos we overstay. We have light infantry, no armour and civilians everywhere so no air strikes. Suddenly u have U.K. forces hostage cos we stayed too long. It’s political nothing to do with capabilities but last thing doverment want is to replay the war

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago

So, the US have 5000 plus in country, we have 1000.

How many French, German, Spanish, Dutch etc?

They are doing a fantastic job, let’s all hope they all get back safe and sound. The Maroon Machine always steps up to the challenge (as the core of the British force), this time is no different….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

While Steve is right to highlight we are too small, we still do more than most.

Comparing to the US is not useful, they are a super power. We are merely a major, or medium power.

Comparisons should be with other European medium ranked powers, France, Germany, and so on.

How many soldiers do they have there? How many airlift assets? How many enabling bases overseas?

Unrelated, has anyone heard if BATUS is closing on the quiet? Seeing Tweets of our armoured vehicles there being flatbedded out.

If true, very bad for our combined arms manoeuvre training.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Agreed, we are not a super power, but we are trying to pretend to be a one in regards to winding up China etc. If China took us vaguely seriously before this, they for sure won’t after this, they will clearly just see us as a puppet of the US and same for Russia. Optics is so important, and our policticans have given off all the wrong messages the last week.

A big difference between we could have done it alone but decided not to (whether true or not) Vs we can’t do it alone.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

On China, for me it is not the UK demonstrating super power status. We are showing our capability with regards to deploying a carrier group, which is still in the process of rebuildingand will only improve and expand, in alliance with, and that’s the important bit, Japan, Australia, the US, and other allies. Perhaps if China didn’t put it’s weight around in the SCS other nations would have no need to respond. It’s not winding up in my view. The Chinese have done a fine job with that all on their own over Covid. No one bar the US can… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve we haven’t claimed to be a superpower or great power since Suez. Apart from the US I can’t think of another country that could hold Kabul airport against a full scale attack. I’m not sure even they could.

Expat
Expat
1 month ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The US can hold it but it would be inoperable at times and no one could reach the airport making holding it irrelevant

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

very bitter man,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

I suspect that some CR2s are coming back from BATUS to the UK for conversion to CR3.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, possibly. Photo I saw looked like the lot had been loaded on trains for shipping out.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Australia has two C17s, two C130Js and a KC30A tanker involved in shuttling evacuees from Kabul with 250 troops from 1RAR together with RAAF ADGs contributing a force protection element on the ground at Kabul airport
Together they have evacuated 1,600 Afghans, Australians and other foreign nationals from Kabul to the ADFs facility in the UAE and onward to Australia since last Wednesday.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

An excellent effort Oscar….

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

RMP and other attached are in the thick of it as well 😉

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

Could we send enough bods out there to do it alone, no. The Royal Anglian Regiment has gone off to Cyprus in the last couple of weeks. To get one battalion out there, they had to take soldiers straight out of the training depot, as well as PAY recent leavers a bonus, to re-join, do the Cyprus gig, with the option for them to leave again, as soon as they got back to the UK. They even had to consider taking volunteers from the other battalion. A guards regiment was due to go to Kenya, it’s on hold, as there… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

I think we could Tom, if we needed too. But troop numbers are really not the issue here. Our lack of organic strategic airlift is more the problem, it’s totally inadequate for such an operation, if undertook as purely sovereign operation. All that aside, Kabul Airport is the very definition of a difficult operational environment, with city hard up against it on two sides. We are purely there by kind permission, all the Taliban have to is start hammering away with large calibre mortars, from back yards and rooftops, bracketing the hard standings and runway, then running the airport would… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Soldiers have had to buy their own food and pay rent for accomodation since 1972, the exception being when you are on exercise or operations.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Tom, I am surprised over the RANGLIAN story – it is a 3-battalion Regt (two Reg, 1 Reserve). Surely the SOP (which is far from unusual) is to top up an under-strength deploying battalion with soldiers from one of the other 2 battalions without raiding the Depot, or bringing back Leavers (and paying them a golden hello). The Guards battalion going to Kenya – if there is no RAF AT available then they would charter – I have flown on charter flights when I was a Reg. I had not heard about 2 Guards battalions merging – this will be… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well the “Ranglian” story is true. The discussions regarding the possible merging of two guards regiments is true. The delay in Guards going to Kenya is true. They have a new departure date now, whether it be with Ryanair or Royal air Force, I have no idea. I know people who are involved in both cases that I mentioned. So you are upset by my spelling out the truth, and reality of what our armed forced can or cannot do in the 21’st Century. The take up for reserve forces has never been as low as it is today …… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

How about UK GER,FRA, holding the Airport together ?could it be done without USA ? 🤔 There again does not tell Boris this is not the time for cuts ,if anything time to increase UK forces .Come on Boris I know money tight Covid been a pain but this is not the time to cut 😕 💂 🇬🇧

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

In my opinion, which is based on a few years on this planet, it has to be said that the tories are the worst for cuts. In 1982, HMS Hermes was about to be decommissioned, after a defence review, proposing the deepest cuts that the armed forces had ever see. Fortunately for the armed forces, the Falkland’s conflict arose, which led to the Hermes taking the role of flagship of the naval task force. She served a further 2 years, before being tied up at Portsmouth. In 1986 she was sold to India. How many ships were saved from sale… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

I believe the 1981 plan Tom was to go toe to toe with Ivan, utilising SSN’s and the new generation off SSK’s. An impressive number of 19 SSN’s was proposed with an undisclosed number of what would become the Upholder Class SSK ( 12-16 perhaps). To pay for this, Frigate and Destroyer numbers would drop to 30, primary ASW T22, with a core of T42. (sounds good today) but escort numbers were 59 in 1981!!! It was during this time that the T23 was designed as a dedicated ASW asset, thank god the Falklands made a redesign necessary and produced… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think it is the same situation for the Army and RAF now, as it was in 1981, John.

Yes, the Army was much bigger in 1981!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

True, we had 900 Chieftain tanks in 1981. We are now heading for 138 CR3 tanks.
Troop numbers were about 155,000 Regs in 1981,now heading down to 72,500, and probably 70,000 soon after.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

It was HMS Invincible that was proposed in the 1981 review to be sold later in 1982.
i think Hermes was to be sold a year later in 1983?

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Yes Invincible and Hermes … John Nott was the defence minister at the time.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

They refused? Boris asked them and German politicians said this was all U.K. and USA fault as if they haven’t had troops in country too

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

Well done the UK services, foreign office staff and loyal Afghans for getting so much done to date. As the successes seem to have been overlooked by almost every commenter here I thought someone should mention it.

Wolf
Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I definitely agree. All of the people there are doing what they can and it should be applauded.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

Steve,
You are constantly telling us how feeble the UK is, how wicked Boris and the Government are corrupt and how cuts have weakened us under this Government I wonder whether you might like to provide some proof?

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

To be fair Geoff, we can firmly point the finger at the Coalition Government, for their wildly reckless defence cuts, but snake oil salesman Cameron was only carrying on the savage cuts that fellow slimey used car salesman and war monger Blair started.

On the subject of Blair, how he’s got the nerve to stand there and cast judgement on the people who are left cleaning up ‘his’ ******* mess in Afghanistan!!!!

He’s just unbelievable….

Wolf
Wolf
1 month ago

Joe Biden: “Thousands of American lives have been lost, and what for?”

Me: “Exactly, what for? Who have they died for, what have they died for? They have sadly died for the people they were initially fighting. They have sadly died so that the country which they bravely served could be taken by the enemy. Exactly… what for?”

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Wolf

That is a very good question being asked by a great many individuals, but I doubt you will get an answer……

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Surly you aren’t questioning the ‘grand plan’ guys!!!

The plan was to remove Afghanistan as a terrorist safe haven …. Mission accomplished by 2002.

2002 to 2021: Sort of make it up as we go along, a bit Nation Building, a bit of occupation with rolling gunfights …. Grow tied of it all and bugger off…

‘If’ (very big if) Bush Junior and sidekick Blair had a plan, I don’t think they shared it with anyone else!

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

If this new paradigm in Afghanistan turns out and becomes a humanitarian disaster, we should reoccupy Northern Afghanistan and confine the Taliban to Southern Afghanistan, like a prison! Any one sympathises will be deported there to live under their home rule there!
Also, it would be a good place to send some of our home grown Jihadis to, out of the way!

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Wolf

Bluntly?

100 quid/dollars a day is what you die for.
You take the shilling you take your chances.
Be it on the ground or bobbing around at sea don’t get a say or make the decisions.
If you want a say or make the decisions you dont serve, you become a politician.

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago

As of 40 minutes ago, The US Military has already started withdrawing from Afghan so won’t be long before other countries start to pack up.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Well, the Taliban spokesman gave to the end of this month as the absolute deadline and said no more Afghans get out (I assume he meant without foreign passports), so Tuesday is the last flight out….. Ready or not, anyone left behind will be relying on the Taliban to organise flights out. Ironically, the Taliban have a problem, instead of sitting out in the boondocks, planting bombs and hit and run raids, they find themselves having to form a government. Afghanistan isn’t the bomb site hole it was 20 years ago, it’s been substantially rebuilt, Karbul anyway and it now… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes mate 2001 it was an absolute mess, you could go up to TV hill, and take a panoramic view, and certainly looking south, looking at the suburbs toward the old pres palace it was just a mass of rubble and brick. Looking north wasn’t much better, from Bala Hissar etc. The only buildings which were really still viable were mostly the Russian flats on the way to the Airport. Nowadays it’s much more modern and rebuilt, but I’m sure the Talibs will feck it up and be incompetent in just about every administration function as they revert back to… Read more »

Andy B
Andy B
1 month ago

How will the final troop/civilian withdrawal be conducted? Who covers the final transport out and at what point do we relinquish responsibility of perimeter control to the Taliban? It looks desperate and I can only wish those involved the best of luck. Stuff going on at ground level sounds desperate with little sign of reprieve.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy B

‘Who covers the final transport?’

The answer is the Taliban, unfortunately there is nobody else.

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

A newscaster tonight said Joe Biden wanted think of the current mess as a ‘Dunkirk- a defeated, crushed army awaiting rescue before it was totally wiped out by y the enemy? But it was looking more like Saigon and Vietnam – another military withdrawal…..must admit, I never thought I would see the day when the mighty uncle Sam woukd be doing this…..

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

It was always going to happen, I remember the glee in the west, as Soviet columns trundled out of Afghanistan in 1989, will broken and towel thrown in. This final Western withdrawal was always going to happen, it was just a case of when. The Russians left under fire in mile long protected columns of Gaz lorries, tank transporters and BTR60 personnel carriers, turning their turrets to the hills, desperate to spot the next ambush. They Headed north into the Soviet ‘Stans’ with Hinds flying figure of eight top cover, harassed all the way to the boarders… We are leaving… Read more »

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Its not like it has History on leaving before the game has ended

Andy B
Andy B
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

I guess not. Doesn’t sound like any extension will be granted and so the last flight will leave and God only knows where that will leave those left behind.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

V22’s could be used to evacuate final troop detachments and ATC staff etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Meirion x
Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Last troops out will probably be supported by “overflights” from helicopters and possible Osprey, and then they will possibly refuel “in-flight” on the way out of the country. You may also find that somewhere out there they have set up an emergency refuel dump for the Apache’s, bearing in mind their range is only around 450 km. They could just about make it to Islamabad, but probably not on the list of places to go to.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy B

Surely the Yanks will cover their last few transports out with a shed-full of Apaches at the very least?

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

UK Forces have been doing one hell of a job there the best.However when the USA go to War there want the the Brits to fight along side them .Yet no EX time at the Airport 🤔

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

I think this has demonstrated the need to start investing in helicopter air-to-air refueling options for the Chinooks and ideally Apache/wildcat and ways to generally upgun the wildcats (even old fashioned rocket pods would probably deterrence).

Putting aside the sheer numbers of troops, the biggest blocker to the UK doing something like this in future on their own, would be lack of top cover and ability to get troops in/out to secure the area for landing of the planes.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Agree Steve 👍

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

So are you calling into question the raison d’etre of PARA?

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  David Barry

Para are designed to be dropped in, it’s getting them out again that is the challenge. Thats assuming we had enough planes to do a big enough drop to secure the area.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

I’m not sure that’s particularly the case these days Steve. Today the Paras will probably only be dropped in company strength (Battalion at a real push) to capture a key objective, seize a bridge / airfield / port etc, to allow the main force in……

We need more A400’s and C17’s. Air refueling Chinook and Merlin HC4 would be a very good key enabler too.

I do hope lessons from the Afghan withdrawal feed into SDSR 2025…

Transport, Transport, Transport, strategic and tactical, fixed wing and Helo!

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

If we are binning C130’s then they need replacing numbers wise. C17 production line is shut I believe, which leaves A400s! Will we buy more, I doubt it! We know we don’t have enough rotor craft assets across the board, also that they have short legs – relatively! Refueling options are a must again across the board, especially fixed wing jets – we could never provide ‘top cover’ in any shape or form with our current set up in this scenario. Unfortunately or fortunately, this crisis has just highlighted our complete lack of capabilities if we ever had to do… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

No argument here. It takes a tragedy like this to highlight the lacking.

SDSR2020 was supposed to seriously shift the UK defence structure towards out of area operations. While I commend the changes planned for the Royal Navy, this event highlights our lack of transport assets.

C17, well I would call Uncle Sam to check on second-hand options. Are the 3 NATO examples being fully utilised?

Could we buy them and guarantee NATO use as required I wonder….

A400, let’s see who wants to sell their surplus examples.

Failing that, I guess we just have to buy more from Airbus.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Appreciate what UK PLC are trying to do WRT OOA Ops, and also that it will take time to reorganise things. Part of that reorganisation must surely be equipment to reflect said change! There appears to be a lack of information in that respect coming out of MOD in terms of what that might be!!! We missed the boat on surplus A400s a few years ago when the Germans wanted rid of some of their A400 fleet. Believe they have now put them into some sort of Euro NATO transport Sqn. We seem to talk the talk, but don’t appear… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

We don’t, I agree Deep…..

It’s situations like this that show we need to spend 3% GDP on defence, with a major focus on transport.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

The Wildcats are receiving missiles.

Agree with the need for helo refuelling.

Agree with the need to expand the transport fleet. Second-hand C17s or additional A400s would be my choice. I’d drizzle in a few more Wildcat airframes and a decent order for the new medium-lift helo as well. 😛

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

Did I miss something? I haven’t heard anything about the army or marine wildcat getting missiles? The only upgrade I have heard about is the navy ones with marlot.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

I would agree Steve, capable of, but no trials or integration funded for the foreseeable future.

It will be a step in the right direction if they have Lusty??

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Apologies. It was unclear what variant of Wildcat you were referring to in the OP. The Navy’s 28 Wildcat are being fitted with the mount/wiring capabilities to fit the wings. This means that they can carry up to 20 Martlet missiles, 4 Sea Venom missiles, or a mix of the two (10 and 2). They can also fly with just one wing attached, allowing the placement of a .50cal as a door gun and/or easy access to the winch for search and rescue activities. The main thing is that it offers flexibility in operations, with a good amount of configurations… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

The puma replacement is a good place to start, buy a good number of an affordable and proven type. To me that means the latest Blackhawk, available almost straight away. You can however guarantee they will piss money against the wall, as Puma replacement becomes a political football. They will buy an unproven type, upgrade it to UK spec and we will end up with a fragile, over complex helicopter, with a unit price double or triple the cost of a Blackhawk. We will end up getting half the number needed and very late indeed. Love to be proven wrong,… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Agreed. I’d use it as a chance to replace the assorted aircraft types in service currently. A larger pool of the same type makes sense for training/parts/operations. I’d also urge some future-proofing – the airframes should be able to operate in a maritime environment, acting as a tool to augment our capabilities on the carriers/RFAs. I don’t want that to raise the old rivalries again, but it would be a massive plus, and take some of the strain off the Merlin fleet. If they really think logically, they could also create an ‘ice’ variant to act as a future cab… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

The news report that the tailban now has 45 captured Blackhawks that they can’t fly. Maybe we can buy them a cut price whilst we are there.