Afghanistan: British troops given medal recognising Kabul evacuation

January 19, 2022

British Armed Forces personnel who helped evacuate more than 15,000 people from Afghanistan last August will receive a medal recognising their work, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

Personnel will receive the Operational Service Medal Afghanistan featuring a new clasp reading Operation Pitting.

More than 15,000 Afghan and British nationals were evacuated by personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

Largest British evacuation since WW2

They were flown out of Kabul by the Royal Air Force in what Defence Secretary Ben Wallace described as "the largest British evacuation since the Second World War".

One flight set a record of the highest number of people carried in an RAF C-17 at 439.

'One of the great achievements' of armed forces, Johnson says

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."

Defence Secretary hails 'true heroism, bravery and dedication'

Mr Wallace celebrated the Armed Forces' "true heroism, bravery and dedication", adding: "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."

Shadow defence secretary John Healey praised the move, saying: "Troops involved in the Kabul airlift totally deserve a medal, and Labour have argued this since early September.

"The military medal is a fitting recognition of their bravery and professionalism, as well as expressing the pride and respect the nation feels in their service."

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