(London Post) The Defence Secretary has announced that the UK will maintain its military presence in Afghanistan, underlining its support to the country. Michael Fallon informed parliament today (27 October) that the UK will uphold its current military commitment of around 450 British troops in Afghanistan throughout 2016, which also emphasises UK support for the NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.
The decision follows a planned review of the UK’s commitment in light of the performance of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) over the year and the overall security situation.
Non-combat roles being carried out by UK Armed Forces personnel include mentoring instructors in the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA), advising in the Afghan Security Ministries and providing vital support to NATO’s mission in Kabul, including leading the Kabul Security Force.
The pledge to maintain UK military support in Afghanistan follows the announcement by President Obama that the US will also uphold its military presence throughout 2016. The UK will work with the US and other NATO Allies and partners to ensure that the delivery of invaluable support to the ANDSF continues.
The terrorist threat to the UK from this region has reduced, and although the UK’s combat mission has ended, we continue to support the Afghanistan government to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous future for the country.
The UK has a long-term commitment to Afghanistan, including financial aid and political support, which was reaffirmed by Prime Minister David Cameron during a phone call to the Afghan president on 26 October.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have shown dedication and professionalism in response to the challenges they have faced, since taking leadership of the country’s security.
Maintaining our military presence will provide crucial assistance to them as they continue to grow stronger.
It underlines our resolve to help build a safe and prosperous Afghanistan.
The Written Ministerial Statement is here