Army officer pays tribute to British soldiers amid ‘emotional’ evacuation of Afghanistan

Brigadier praises ‘resilient and incredibly professional’ forces

Zaina Alibhai
Saturday 04 September 2021 01:47
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British commander describes 'desperate' scenes faced by troops in Kabul

A senior British commander who helped the UK’s evacuation operation in Afghanistan has hailed the soldiers’ resilience throughout the rescue mission.

Brigadier James Martin was at Kabul Airport and saw through the efforts that brought 15,000 people back to the UK in two weeks.

He admitted there were “emotions” all through the operation, yet the “resilient and incredibly professional” soldiers braved the chaos even in the face of death.

“There were emotions all the way through the operations,” he said.

“You can’t see a young child crushed to death in front of you, and then you having to deal with the aftermath of that without being emotional.”

Brigadier Martin was on the ground when a suicide bomb, orchestrated by Isis-K, killed over 170 people.

Admitting he did not expect the explosion when it happened, he described the result as “carnage”.

He said: “When that level of explosion, and the combination of shrapnel is detonated, there is only one result - and that is carnage.”

The commander said ‘Operation Pitting’ - the evacuation of British nationals and Afghan allies from Afghanistan - saw troops dealing with “very large crowds who feared for their lives”, which led to the mission being dealt very differently to any other combat mission the army has been faced with.

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