UK to maintain military presence in Afghanistan throughout 2016

27 October 2015 (Last Updated October 27th, 2015 18:30)

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced the country will maintain its military presence in Afghanistan.

Defence

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced the country will maintain its military presence in Afghanistan.

As part of the continued presence, 450 troops will remain in Afghanistan throughout 2016.

The decision represents a commitment to extend support to Afghanistan and emphasises the UK's support for Nato's resolute support mission.

Fallon said: "The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) have shown dedication and professionalism in response to the challenges they have faced since taking leadership of the country's security.

"It underlines our resolve to help build a safe and prosperous Afghanistan."

"Maintaining our military presence will provide crucial assistance to them as they continue to grow stronger.

"It underlines our resolve to help build a safe and prosperous Afghanistan."

The move comes after the US announced it would be maintaining presence in Afghanistan throughout 2016.

The UK will work with the US and other Nato allies to deliver support to the ANDSF.

UK Army personnel are currently carrying out non-combat roles, including mentoring instructors in the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA), advising in the Afghan Security Ministries and providing vital support to Nato's mission in Kabul, including leading the Kabul Security Force.

The UK will also provide financial aid and political support as part of a long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

Despite assuming lead responsibility for Afghanistan security in June 2013, the ANDSF frequently complain they lack the resources to fight the Taliban.

The Guardian reports that approximately 9,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers have been killed since the start of 2013.

Since 2001, the Afghan war has claimed the lives of more than 3,400 US and coalition soldiers.


Image: Training at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA). Photo: courtesy of Ministry of Defence / Crown copyright.