Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Royal Navy Chief Praises 'Courage' And 'Commitment' Of Service

As the UK's mission draws to a close, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has reflected on the sacrifices made by sailors and marines.

The head of the Royal Navy has praised the dedication of the service throughout two decades of UK involvement in Afghanistan.

Britain's military mission in the country has almost come to a close, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating that the majority of personnel have now withdrawn.

Personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have been present since UK forces entered Afghanistan in 2001, the latter taking the lead on elements of Operation Herrick - the British combat operation in the country ending in 2014.

Naval divers, surgeons, medics, engineers, technicians, logisticians and more have been at the heart of British efforts in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, while 60 Commandos lost their lives there.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: "Today we mark the immense contribution of all those in defence, in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who served with distinction during 20 years of operations in Afghanistan.

"We particularly thank serving personnel, veterans and families for your commitment and dedication.

"We will never forget your courage and service, particularly of those who were injured and those who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Watch: 'We are safer because of everything they did' – Johnson confirms end of Op Toral.

Britain entered Afghanistan with the US in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, mounting an assault on the Taliban.

Since, UK involvement has featured Naval Strike Wing air strikes, submarine-launched cruise missile strikes on enemy positions and thousands of troop transport flights from the Commando Helicopter Force.

Whilst reconnaissance flights from Fleet Air Arm have provided counter-terror intelligence from above, tracking weapons and bomb-making shipments to assist arrests on the ground.

Since 2001, 457 British personnel have been killed and more than 150,000 UK personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan