Army

Afghanistan: All You Need To Know About 16 Air Assault Brigade

About 600 troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade have deployed to Afghanistan to evacuate Britons and ex-British staff.

16 Air Assault Brigade is the British Army's Airborne Rapid Reaction Force.

About 600 troops from the Brigade have been deployed to Afghanistan to evacuate British nationals and former British staff eligible for relocation to the UK as the Taliban stands on the brink of a total takeover of Afghanistan after capturing the capital Kabul. 

On Sunday night, the first evacuation flight touched down at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

16 Air Assault Brigade was formed in September 1999 from two pre-existing formations.

Based in Colchester, Essex, the Brigade Headquarters is formed from both Army and RAF personnel, enabling it to integrate air and land operations.

In recent years, troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade have deployed on multiple operations in Afghanistan – such as part of Op Herrick 13 in 2010 – and Iraq, as well as supporting civilian authorities in the UK, like providing security during the London 2012 Olympics and supporting emergency services during UK flooding in 2014.

Soldiers from the Brigade have also trained forces in countries across Africa.

What is the 16 Air Assault Brigade?

16 Air Assault Brigade is the Army's global response force and is specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and air-landing.

According to the British Army's website, 16 Air Assault Brigade's 'core role' is to maintain the Air Assault Task Force, a battlegroup that is held at high readiness to deploy globally on a range of missions from 'non-combatant evacuation ops', such as what they've been deployed to do in Afghanistan, to war fighting.

Watch: On exercise with British paratroopers, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, and Jordanian Special Forces.

The Parachute Regiment's 2nd and 3rd Battalion are the parachute infantry component of the Brigade.

They are supported by reservist battalion, 4 PARA.

Recently, soldiers from 2 PARA, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, completed joint parachuting exercises with the Jordanian Special Forces

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