British Forces End Afghan Combat Operations

British forces ended their combat role in Afghanistan, handing Camp Bastion to Afghan forces in preparation for a transition to the advisory and training role. “We have said farewell to British Forces in Helmand and now Kandahar, bringing to a close our combat mission here in Afghanistan,” said British Army Maj. Gen. Ben Bathurst, commander of UK forces in Afghanistan, in a Nov. 24 Ministry of Defense release. “The UK’s focus now switches to training the Afghan Army’s future officers and providing continuing support to the security ministries in Kabul,” added Britain’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. Tornado GR4 strike aircraft completed the Royal Air Force’s final tactical deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, earlier this month, according to an MOD release. The RAF’s expeditionary air wing at Kandahar provided close air support, aerial refueling, tactical airlift, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and remotely piloted support. British were operationally responsible for Helmand province alongside US marines and Danish forces in Southern Afghanistan, often seeing intense action. Some 453 British troops and defense civilians were killed in action since 2001, according to MOD figures.