As a result of recent events within Afghanistan, the Prime Minister has agreed the use of military support to facilitate the next phase of drawing down British Nationals from the country, including the use of RAF aircraft should it be needed.
Operation Pitting will be commanded from the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood and is the name for military support to the evacuation of British Nationals and former British staff eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
This will be led by the 600 members of the Armed Forces who have already begun to deploy, with members of 16 Air Assault Brigade leaving this weekend.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
As announced this week, UK troops will be providing force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals where required and assist with the acceleration of the ARAP.
To accelerate this process the Home Office will be deploying a small team of officials to assist the FCDO in Kabul. They will be tasked with streamlining the processing of new visas and other documents needed for British nationals, former UK staff and other eligible people to leave Afghanistan and travel to the UK.
Over 2,000 eligible local staff who supported the UK Government in Afghanistan, and their families, have been relocated to the UK since April this year. Over 3,000 locally employed civilians and their families have been relocated since 2014, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to ensuring the safety of those who supported the government.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The UK Government has urged British nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately, given the deteriorating security situation. The Government say it is providing support to help British nationals leave, including providing where appropriate emergency travel documents and loans.
British nationals who have not already done so should call the British Embassy Kabul on +93 (0) 700 102 000 and select the option “Consular services for British nationals” as soon as possible to discuss their departure plans.