Soldiers talking with family, Op Pitting ongoing to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan following Taliban offensive 20210822 CREDIT MOD.jpg
UK personnel talking with Afghan families during Operation Pitting in August (Picture: MOD).
Afghanistan

Kabul airlift personnel 'face consequences in their mental health', Defence Secretary says

Operation Pitting saw the UK airlift more than 15,000 people who were at serious risk from the Taliban due to helping British forces.

Soldiers talking with family, Op Pitting ongoing to evacuate British nationals and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan following Taliban offensive 20210822 CREDIT MOD.jpg
UK personnel talking with Afghan families during Operation Pitting in August (Picture: MOD).

Military personnel who took part in Operation Pitting "will face consequences in their mental health in decades to come", the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace was responding to Conservative MP Steve Baker, who said he had seen "a number of people who looked haunted by their experiences", when he looked at the faces of Op Pitting soldiers as they marched outside Parliament.

He asked the Defence Secretary in the House of Commons "to make sure that in his people plan he develops our warfighting resilience by having concrete steps which will better equip our members of the Armed Forces for what they will see on operations and to better help them recover their mental health afterwards".

In response, Mr Wallace said it was an "important point" made.

He added: "People are changing about what they want to do but they are also changing in what their own personal resilience is.

"It is a different youth generation from my generation and I think we have to move as fast as we can to keep up with that.

"And I think he is right, there will be people on that tour of Op Pitting who will face consequences in their mental health in decades to come and we have to be on that."

Military personnel involved in Operation Pitting attended a reception in Parliament on Wednesday which the Ministry of Defence (MOD) described as a thank-you for their service.

The operation carried out in August saw the UK airlift to safety from Kabul more than 15,000 people who were judged to be at serious risk from the Taliban because of their role in assisting British forces in Afghanistan.

The Op Pitting question came as Mr Wallace was updating MPs on reforms to the British Army, including restructuring and reorganisation of units that will take place in the coming years.

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