This is how Yorkshire soldiers have helped evacuations at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan
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Troops from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, known as 2 Yorks, were sent from their base in Cyprus to Kabul on Operation Pitting, which, in the first 10 days, evacuated a total of 11,474 British people, entitled Afghans and civilians from partner nations.
In total more than 1,000 military personnel are on the ground at Kabul Airport, mostly from 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s global response force. Working alongside Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Border Force staff, troops are both protecting the operation and providing planning, logistic, and medical support, army officials say.
One of the battalion’s particular roles in Kabul has been moving, processing and supporting evacuees as they go from handling centres to the airport and then on to RAF aircraft, using vehicles that the soldiers have affectionately called ‘White Rose Taxis’.
The battalion’s commanding officer, Lt Col James Ashworth, said: “The last few days have seen 2 Yorks do brilliant things to get our soldiers ready and deployed out to Afghanistan. Those in Kabul are working tirelessly, in the most desperate and testing of conditions, to get people out.”
He added: “It is a busy time for the Battalion and a remarkable achievement that we are currently delivering on several operational commitments in different countries at the same time. We are maintaining our continued readiness for operations in the region in Cyprus; helping the evacuation in Kabul; and supporting Op Kipion in Bahrain, the Royal Navy-led mission to protect shipping lanes in the Gulf.”
Op Pitting was launched on Friday August 13 amid the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which meant the safety of British people in the country could no longer be assured. At the same time the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy has been speeded up, to help interpreters and other Afghan staff who risked their lives working alongside British forces in the country, relocate to the UK. More than 6,946 eligible Afghans had been flown out of Kabul within the mission’s first 10 days.