Afghanistan

'It's Hard': Minister Emotional On 20 Years Since Start Of UK Operations In Afghanistan

Army veteran James Heappey appeared emotional as he recalled seeing names of people he served with on a memorial.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey was emotional as he reflected on 20 years since the start of UK operations in Afghanistan after a remembrance ceremony marking the anniversary.

Mr Heappey, a former Army officer who served in Afghanistan, appeared to choke up when saying he saw names of people he knew on the Bastion Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, adding: "They're people that I remember on the morning of their death."

Speaking after a service at the East Staffordshire site, Mr Heappey said: "It's hard. As the trumpeter was blowing Last Post, in my eye line were names from my regiment on the tour following me.

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"They're not names on the war memorial in my village, which are from wars of 50 and 100 years ago.

"They're people that I remember on the morning of their death. They're people that I served alongside."

A wreath-laying ceremony to mark 20 years since the start of UK operations was also held at the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial in central London.

One-hundred and fifty-thousand members of the UK Armed Forces served in Afghanistan since 2001, including 457 who lost their lives.

The UK withdrew all of its forces from Afghanistan in August.