After 13 long years Britain’s war in Afghanistan has ended with a closing ceremony held in Camp Bastion, the last British base in the country. The British flag was lowered in an emotional ceremony marking the cessation of operations there which has claimed the lives of 453 British servicemen and women in what is the longest continued military deployment in living memory.
The last British soldiers will leave Camp Bastion over the coming week as control is handed over to local Afghan troops. In the past few months thousands of tonnes of equipment has been returned to the UK as operations drew to an official close at 10am Afghanistan time. Sadly however with Britain’s armed forces again committing to fighting Islamic extremism elsewhere there has been little jubilation over the event. There remains a sense amongst all the NATO countries involved that the job is incomplete and questions remain about how effective the Afghan National Army will be once they are left in-country without international support.
Whatever happens one thing is for certain; British troops have performed magnificently both as warriors and serving the local population by assisting in aid efforts. They have earned the respect of friend and foe alike.