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In November 2001 British soldiers invaded Afghanistan along with many other NATO countries, including America. The invasions main objective was to overthrow the Taliban who controlled most of Afghanistan and give it back to the honest people of Afghanistan.  The British and their foreign counterparts successfully removed the Taliban from power and began to reconstruct a new Afghanistan government. Although in 2003 the Taliban started an insurgency campaign throughout Afghanistan. From 2006 British Forces seen the most ferocious fighting Helmand had ever seen. Some British Regiments reported they were instructed to burn personal belongings due to the fear of being overrun. One of them regiments was my father’s ex-regiment The Royal Irish Regiment who was based in Sangin and Musa Qala. I have sat down with friends of my dads who served during them ferocious battles and they themselves said when that call came to “fix bayonets” they knew the enemy was within touching distance. They also told me that at one point they could not be resupplied because the Taliban had cut them off and had to conserve ammo (ammunition) and only fire if they knew they could see the enemy.

2013 has seen a lot of the fighting in Afghanistan come to an end and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) are well underway with their preparations on bringing all combat missions in Afghanistan to a close.  Over the past year or so the British Armed Forces have dramatically changed their role when it comes to Afghanistan; they have begun to focus on training the Afghan Forces so they can finally begin to take control of their own country, the role for the British Armed Forces has become more a supervising role, meaning the Afghan Forces take the lead while the British Army hang back and just supervise them.

Even though the British Army has taken up the supervisor role the everyday risks are still a danger to the soldiers on the ground. Although a lot of the serious fighting has stopped in Afghanistan most of it is now what the media call “insider attacks” also known as green on blue attacks. These attacks are when rogue Afghans in Afghan Army/Police uniform fire upon their foreign counterparts.  Even as these rogue attacks continue throughout Helmand Provinces the British soldiers are still training Afghan Soldiers and Policemen on how to defuse and detect improvised explosive devices.

One of my dad’s friends who recently returned to from Afghanistan has said himself the role of the British Army has changed and a lot of the work they (the British Army) do is mainly focused on making sure the Afghan personnel safe guard their own country in the years to come. I got the pleasure to speak to him about his experiences in Afghanistan and I asked him about the rogue attacks and what the Ministry of Defence have done to make sure this attack do not occur. He told me that even when they are in the safety of their compound a lot of the “boys” are still fully geared up watching over us to make sure a rogue Afghan who is usually affiliated with the Taliban does not shoot us in the back as we eat, sleep or train; we call them our guardian angels.

The ‘clean-up operation’ in Afghanistan has been well underway for nearly a year now and with the 2014 removal date growing every closer teams of logistic companies are gathering every little piece of equipment that the British brought to Afghanistan and when I mean every little bit of equipment I mean every little screw, platform, bolt, ammunition and armed vehicles are ALL being brought back to Britain which will cost up to £30-40million a month, according to BBC.

Equipment is being airlifted out of Afghanistan by the tone and by the winter of 2013 British presence in Afghanistan will fall to a massive 5,000, meaning all combat missions will come to a close in April 2014.

Camp Bastion is the biggest base the British Army as built overseas since World War 2. Home to nearly 28,000 people and the base is to be considered to be as big as the UK town Reading. Camp Bastion is stage one for all British equipment. At stage one all equipment is organized and then prepared for stage two which is to be loaded onto planes and sent to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan where the equipment will be flown back to the United Kingdom. There are hundreds of vehicles waiting to be transported back to Britain these armed vehicles include:

  • Mastiffs
  • Buffalos
  • Panthers
  • Warthogs
  • Foxhounds
  • Husky’s
  • Wolfhounds
  • Jackal’s
  • Scimitars

And that’s just the armoured vehicles! There are still logistic vehicles, Artillery & air defence systems and aircrafts that still need to be transported back to the United Kingdom and all this needs to be done by the end of 2014.

Now I bet your thinking why don’t we just leave some of the stuff in Afghanistan and give it to the Afghan Army. Well we could do that but that means training them on equipment they would not use. Another reason for not leaving the equipment behind is that there is a possibility that it might attract terrorist organisations to come back into Afghanistan and claim the unwanted British equipment. However the Ministry of Defence has said at least £1billion worth of ‘useless’ equipment will be left behind or maybe sold for scrap.

Created By: Chris Wilson

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