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13 Aug 21. US withdrawal from Afghanistan is a mistake, says Ben Wallace. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan is a “mistake” and will lead to the resurgence of al-Qaeda posing a threat to the West, the defence secretary has warned.
Ben Wallace said that the West will “probably pay the consequences” of the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He singled out Donald Trump, the former US president, for criticism, describing a deal he did with the Taliban over the withdrawal as “rotten”.
Paratroopers are being rushed back to Kabul to evacuate thousands of British and Afghan citizens as the Taliban tighten their hold on Afghanistan.
Six hundred troops are being deployed to secure the departure of more than 4,000 Britons and up to 2,000 Afghans who are at risk of reprisal because of their work for the British military and government.
The rescue comes after the Taliban made a series of new advances, capturing the ancient city of Herat close to the Iranian border and last night taking Kandahar, the movement’s spiritual home, after cutting supply lines to Kabul from the north and south.
Residents in Lashkar Gah confirmed last night that Taliban fighters had stormed the city’s police headquarters, with Afghan troops falling back to a single compound. The city is the capital of the Helmand province and was the headquarters for British troops in Afghanistan.
Ben Wallace told Sky News: “At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that was a mistake to have done it that way. We will all, in the international community, probably pay the consequences of that. I think the deal that was done in Doha was a rotten deal.
“I’ve been pretty blunt about it publicly and that’s quite a rare thing when it comes to United States decisions, but strategically it causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it’s very difficult for what we’re seeing today.
“I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people. It’s why I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because al-Qaeda will probably come back.”
The Pentagon has begun moving thousands of US marines into position for a potential evacuation of the US embassy after warnings that Kabul could fall within 30 days. President Biden has vowed to withdraw all troops by August 31.
The British redeployment will restore the number of British troops in Afghanistan to 750, the same as before the withdrawal of Nato forces began last month under a deal struck between Washington and the Taliban. The Ministry of Defence said that the move came “in light of the increasing violence and rapidly deteriorating security environment in the country”.
The British embassy is to be abandoned while the small staff that remain will move with the ambassador, Sir Laurie Bristow, to an undisclosed secure location. They will focus on issuing emergency assistance for those having to leave the country rapidly. Britain has maintained an embassy in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in November 2001.
The extra 600 troops will be drawn from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, which includes members of The Parachute Regiment, and the Joint Forces Headquarters, the rapid deployment force involving all three branches of the military. All will arrive in Kabul in the next few days.
Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, wrote on Twitter: “A hasty exit is not a sign of success. Needing reinforcements to keep the door open as you leave is a sure sign of failure.”
The Conservative MP, who has been a vocal critic of the withdrawal, spoke of his own time serving with the armed forces in Afghanistan.
“The decision to withdraw is like a rug pulled from under the feet of our partners,” he said.
Lord Richards, a former chief of defence staff, told Newsnight on BBC: “It is a tacit — explicit really — admission of failure. Of a gross, a dismal failure of geostrategy and of statecraft.”
(Source: The Times)
13 Aug 21. Operation Pitting Established. Military operation established to support the drawdown of British nationals from Afghanistan. As a result of recent events within Afghanistan, the Prime Minister has agreed the use of military support to facilitate the next phase of drawing down British Nationals from the country, including the use of RAF aircraft should it be needed.
Operation Pitting will be commanded from the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood and is the name for military support to the evacuation of British Nationals and former British staff eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
This will be led by the 600 members of the Armed Forces who have already begun to deploy, with members of 16 Air Assault Brigade leaving this weekend.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Protecting British Nationals and ensuring their safety as they leave Afghanistan is our top priority, which is why we are commencing Operation Pitting, for which our military are very well prepared. Over the next few weeks, we shall all do our very best to support the Afghan Government and those that have worked with us over 20 years.”
As announced yesterday, UK troops will be providing force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals where required and assist with the acceleration of the ARAP.
To accelerate this process the Home Office will be deploying a small team of officials to assist the FCDO in Kabul. They will be tasked with streamlining the processing of new visas and other documents needed for British nationals, former UK staff and other eligible people to leave Afghanistan and travel to the UK.
Over 2,000 eligible local staff who supported the UK Government in Afghanistan, and their families, have been relocated to the UK since April this year. Over 3,000 locally employed civilians and their families have been relocated since 2014, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to ensuring the safety of those who supported the government.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “We have a moral obligation to support the fearless Afghan staff and their family members, who served alongside our brave troops in Afghanistan. No one should have their lives put at risk for working with the UK Government, which is why we have significantly expanded and accelerated our dedicated resettlement scheme, deployed Home Office officials to help process British nationals for evacuation, and waived visas for their dependants.”
The UK urges British nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately, given the deteriorating security situation. We are providing support to help British nationals leave, including providing where appropriate emergency travel documents and loans.
British nationals who have not already done so should call the British Embassy Kabul on +93 (0) 700 102 000 and select the option “Consular services for British nationals” as soon as possible to discuss their departure plans.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Will we now see ‘Mission Creep,’ and more reinforcements sent, and more US airpower and troops deployed? Watch this space!
09 Aug 21. CNC collaboration agreements. Details of the collaboration agreements that the CNC hold with other police forces across England and in Scotland. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) is an armed police force, charged with protecting critical national infrastructure. Our Ambition is to be recognised nationally and internationally as the leading organisation for armed protective security within the critical national infrastructure of the UK.
Our officers are licenced by the College of Policing and trained to the same national standards as Home Office forces. The Constabulary is constituted under the Energy Act 2004, and is governed by different legislation to that of Home Office forces.
The Act does allow CNC officers to assist other forces if necessary at individual incidents or provide mutual aid in a prearranged arrangement, however a more formal agreement is necessary for certain instances to provide a legal framework to allow Chief Constables to request armed officers from the CNC.
As a result, the CNC currently has the below collaboration agreements in place with police forces across the country:
An agreement in place with all Home Office forces in England and Wales enabling deployment in the event of a major incident, co-ordinated by National Policing Coordination Centre (NPoCC), and potential for CNC officers to be deployed in any force area.
Operation Plato and other support
An agreement in place with all Home Office forces whose area our sites sit in: Thames Valley, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Suffolk, Lancashire, Cumbria, and Cleveland. The agreement enables us to provide support in the event of a marauding terrorist attack, where there is a threat to life or risk of serious injury or to undertake joint patrolling.
City of London
An agreement to allow CNC officers to assist with particular movements.
Police Scotland collaboration agreement
This agreement enables the CNC to offer support in the event of an Op Temperer or Op Plato scenario, in the event of a threat to life or risk of serious injury, and in any other scenario where it would be either mutually beneficial or beneficial for either force.
In each of the agreements CNC officers are deemed to be temporarily serving with the receiving force, under their direction and control and therefore with the jurisdiction of the receiving force. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company