Afghanistan: RAF chief tells service to 'look back with pride'

The message to the Air Force follows Boris Johnson's confirmation that the UK's mission in the country has drawn to a close.

Members of the Royal Air Force have been thanked by their service chief for their contribution to British efforts in Afghanistan, as the UK withdraws from the country.

The Armed Forces have been involved in Afghanistan for 20 years, following the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001, but the mission has now come to a close.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston addressed the RAF in a personal message online, honouring the sacrifices made over the past two decades.

"We can be very proud of all that we did to support the people of Afghanistan, to stabilise and build capacity and, above all, to deny extremists a safe haven to plot terror on our streets," he said.

Air Chief Marshal Wigston's comments follow those made by the head of the Royal Navy who praised the dedication of the service throughout the deployment in Afghanistan

Britain entered Afghanistan with the US in 2001, mounting an assault on the Taliban.

Since then, 457 British personnel have been killed and more than 150,000 UK personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan

The video message thanked the RAF Whole Force, including reservists, civil servants and contractors, for their sacrifices.

"We faced a ruthless enemy, which fought in unconventional ways, without morals or care for the civilian population they hid behind," ACM Wigston said.

Addressing the forces families and the challenges they have faced over the past two decades, he said: "You were tested and were not found wanting."

In the "heartfelt thank-you", the RAF chief encouraged the entire service community to "look back with pride in the knowledge you did your best when called upon to serve".