RAF News

Operation Toral draws to a close

RAF gunner looks out from a Puma.
RAF gunner looks out from a Puma as it is being loaded as part of the drawdown of British Troops from Afghanistan.

As Operation Toral draws to a close, a small number of UK military personnel will temporarily remain to support the transition to a new phase of UK Government support to Afghanistan.

A Foxhound vehicle being loaded onto a C17 aircraft.
A Foxhound vehicle is loaded onto a waiting C17 aircraft for delivery back to the UK at HKIA (Hamid Karzai International Airport) Kabul.

Operation Toral has been the UK’s contribution to NATO Resolute Support in Afghanistan since the end of UK combat operations in 2015.  The orderly and coordinated withdrawal of NATO Forces began on 1st May 2021, with the Prime Minister confirming that the UK has now withdrawn the majority of our personnel from the country. 

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, delivered an Afghanistan withdrawal message.

"This was a Whole Force endeavour, and I pay tribute not only to our Regulars, Reservists, Civil Servants and Contractors but also to our families who offered unwavering support and made sacrifices of their own.  You were tested and you were not found wanting.  So a heartfelt thank-you to all those who served on or supported coalition operations in Afghanistan during this defining period in our history.  Look back with pride in the knowledge you did your best when called upon to serve."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston
Chief of the Air Staff

Puma helicopters being unloaded by three personnel.
Puma helicopters are unloaded from the Antonov AN-225 after their flight home to the UK after deployment on Operation TORAL in Afghanistan.

A number of troops will remain to offer diplomatic assurance to the international community in Kabul as we transition to the end of the NATO mission.  This is consistent with the continued diplomatic presence and retaining a bi-lateral relationship with Afghanistan.

Below is a video timeline showing the RAFs contribution to Afghanistan over the past 20 years and another video taking a brief look back at Puma operations in Afghanistan over the last six years. 

Two Pumas fly over Kabul.
RAF Pumas fly over Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, during a routine transit between compounds within the city.

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