UK troops leave Kandahar Airfield
Only "a few hundred" UK military servicemen and women remain in Afghanistan after the latest batch of British troops returned home.
The final UK military personnel to be based at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan departed for home soil yesterday afternoon, 13 years after the first troops arrived in the region.
It marks the latest stage in the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan, after the last combat troops withdrew from Camp Bastion in a huge airlift operation four weeks ago .
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the only UK military servicemen and women remaining in Afghanistan are in advisory, logistical and support roles, helping the Afghan army. Around 100 of these are working at the Afghan Military Academy near Kabul.
Servicemen and women watched yesterday as the Union flag was lowered at Kandahar Airfield to mark their departure.
Personnel from the RAF's 904 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) boarded a C17 aircraft bound for the UK alongside colleagues from the Joint Force Support Unit which was responsible for supporting military operations in Afghanistan.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "Britain's armed forces can take great pride in the completion of their deployment to southern Afghanistan.
"Thanks to their courage and dedication, the country has the best possible chance of a stable future. Our departure from Kandahar airfield therefore is a historic milestone.
"Looking to the future, the UK's focus now switches to training the Afghan Army's future officers and providing continuing support to the security ministries in Kabul."
Lieutenant Colonel Rachel Parr, who oversaw much of the redeployment logistic work, said: "Logistic challenges don't come much bigger or more complex, and the redeployment from Operation Herrick (British operations in Afghanistan) has been two years in the planning and execution by a host of people and organisations; military, civil service and contractors, here, back in the UK and in Germany.
"To be on the last deployment at the theatre end of all this work, which represents the efforts of so many people, has been an immense privilege."
A total of 453 British forces personnel or MoD civilians have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.