Yesterday evening the BBC broadcast a report from Afghanistan, particularly the situation in Helmand province.
The UK has a long term commitment to build a more secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Though our combat mission ended in 2014, the UK continues to support the Government of Afghanistan through NATO’s train, advise and assist mission, Resolute Support. The UK also provides substantial political, financial and development support.
End of combat operations
Throughout UK and NATO combat operations in Afghanistan, international forces worked to build the capacity and capability of Afghan forces. Afghan security and defence forces grew stronger and gradually took on greater responsibility for security across the country. At the end of 2014, UK and NATO combat operations ended and the Afghans took full responsibility for the security of their country. The UK and the international community did not leave, however, as when combat operations drew to a close, NATO established its current train, advise and support mission, Resolute Support.
The UK currently has around 450 personnel in Afghanistan, working to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
This is done through the UK mentored Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA), which since 2014 has helped to train over 1,300 graduates; developing the next generation of Afghan officers.
With more female officers than ever, graduates from the facility are playing an active role in shaping the security of the country. We are also advising the Afghan security ministries through UK personnel mentoring Afghan senior leaders.
The UK also provides vital enabling support for Resolute Support through leading the Kabul Security Force, which provides security for NATO personnel, including by coordinating NATO personnel movements and base protection measures.
The UK has an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. We will be contributing £70 million a year until 2020 in order to support the ANDSF, and in 2017 UK personnel will increase by 10%, taking the total number to around 500. The extra personnel will provide further support at the ANAOA and advice to the fledgling Afghan Air Force.
The UK sent 10 military advisors to Helmand in December 2015 as part of a larger NATO training package. The 10 UK advisors left in March 2016. NATO troops remain in Helmand working with the ANDSF in non-combat roles.