Afghanistan

Kabul evacuation medal: Who qualifies?

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the new medal is a "departure from normal medal policy" – but who qualifies for the award?

British military personnel deployed to support the evacuation from Afghanistan last year will receive special medals for their contribution, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced.

The mission, codenamed Operation Pitting, saw UK military personnel airlift more than 15,000 people out of the country in August after the Taliban took control.

Operation Pitting lasted just over a fortnight – much shorter than the MOD's previous requirement of only allowing medals for those who served on operation for at least 30 days.

Who can be awarded Operation Pitting medals?

The Operational Service Medal Afghanistan has its own distinctive clasp and will be awarded to certain members of the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF who served during Operation Pitting.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the new medal is a "departure from normal medal policy" but that Op Pitting is "exceptionally deserving".

The former Army officer then explained which personnel will be eligible for the award.

He said: "Service personnel who served five consecutive days in Kabul, or aircrew who were involved in three or more sorties will receive the Operational Service Medal with an Op Pitting clasp." 

Mr Heappey added: "People who served in Kabul, in my view, served a six-month tour compressed into two weeks in terms of the intensity of what they dealt with.

"They are very, very deserving and I am delighted we've been able to make an exception because medallic recognition really matters."

More than 1,000 military personnel, diplomats and officials were sent to Afghanistan to assist with the airlifts.