Afghanistan: British troops to receive medal for heroism during Kabul evacuation

19 January 2022, 07:27 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 07:46

British troops helped in evacuating thousands of Afghans after the Taliban takeover.
British troops helped in evacuating thousands of Afghans after the Taliban takeover. Picture: Alamy/MoD

By Emma Soteriou

British troops who helped during the Kabul evacuation in Afghanistan are set to receive a medal recognising their "heroism in the face of extreme adversity".

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The evacuation - also known as Operation Pitting - saw over 15,000 Afghans and British nationals flown out of the country in August 2021, following the Taliban's takeover.

To mark their bravery and contribution to the operation, personnel will receive the existing Operational Service Medal Afghanistan, featuring a new clasp reading "Operation Pitting".

The Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force were all a part of the mass effort over the summer, with approximately 600 soldiers being deployed to Kabul airport to provide food, water, and medical assistance to evacuees.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace described it as "the largest British evacuation since the Second World War", with one flight setting a record for the highest number of people carried in an RAF C-17 aircraft at 439.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I'm delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has given permission for a special medal to be awarded to all those who deployed to Kabul, to honour their heroism in the face of extreme adversity.

"Operation Pitting will go down as one of the great achievements of our UK Armed Services and their civilian counterparts in the post-war era.

"The whole country can be immensely proud of their tireless work to bring men, women and children to safety. They represent the very best of us."

The new medals feature a clasp reading "Operation Pitting".
The new medals feature a clasp reading "Operation Pitting". Picture: MoD

Mr Wallace hailed the Armed Forces' "true heroism, bravery and dedication".

He added: "As the security situation worsened by the hour, our service men and women stepped up and delivered the largest British evacuation since the Second World War.

"They will rightly receive medallic recognition for their efforts.

"Following approval from Her Majesty The Queen, they will now receive the medallic recognition their efforts deserve."

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