The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has dispatched the first group of British soldiers to evacuate UK nationals from Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting.
An unknown number of soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade are expected to fly to Kabul this weekend to help evacuate British citizens as well as Afghan allies of the UK, in particular “translators” who helped the British military during its nearly 20-year presence in Afghanistan.
Altogether 600 troops are expected to be deployed in due course as part of Operation Pitting which marks the final stage of the UK’s ignominious retreat from Afghanistan.
Following the official start of Operation Pitting on Friday (August 13), Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, announced that: “Protecting British nationals and ensuring their safety as they leave Afghanistan is our top priority”.
"Over the next few weeks, we shall all do our very best to support the Afghan government and those that have worked with us over 20 years", Wallace added.
Wallace’s defeatist statement followed on the heels of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s admission yesterday that there is no “military solution to prevent the Taliban’s resurgence”.
"I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution - a combat solution - in Afghanistan", the PM conceded.
Meanwhile, Labor Party leader, Keir Starmer, has criticized the UK’s sharp exit from Afghanistan by asserting that Britain has an “obligation” to support the embattled Afghan government even as the UK pulls out its key people from the war-torn country.
"We can't turn our back on Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan so what I want to see is our government stepping up and leading on this and calling for an emergency meeting of NATO, an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting", Starmer added.