British paratroopers landed in Kabul this week charged with rescuing 4,000 UK nationals and Afghans while being warned that they should “prepare for face-to-face combat” with the Taliban.
A senior military source reportedly stated, “We are not a huge force but, of course, all troops have been briefed that they may have to fight and that could be face-to-face in the streets of Kabul.”
“Of course, we are hoping it does not come to this. This is going to be a very complex operation in which we are planning to airlift as many as 6,000 people. Kabul is currently packed with refugees and ‘The situation is very tense’ – we could have serious issues if we get masses of people trying to join the exodus who do not qualify,” he noted.
“All this on the background of credible intelligence warnings that the Taliban will use their artillery against the airfield which they captured from the Afghan National Army – this is a real concern. The pressure is on. We must be in a position to begin extractions by Tuesday,” the source warned.
Former Congressional staffer Matthew Russell reported the following:
Serious friction between U.S. and U.K. military commanders at the airport. American forces refuse to leave airport due to deal with T-ban while British paratroopers are still running constant patrols into the city to collect people from safe houses. British forces are rescuing British, Irish, and Afghan Nationals due for evacuation. Any other nationality also picked up if at location. T-ban are aware of patrols and taking no action so far.
U.S. command is unhappy with the Brits as they say it puts their deal at risk. A British paratrooper commander and an 82nd Airborne commander had a screaming match. The Brits are reportedly very unhappy at how Afghans are being treated by American forces.
U.S. rank and file soldiers are infuriated with their command. They are extremely frustrated they can’t join the British paratroopers or use the small army of contractors assembled at the airport to go on rescue missions.
The British Home Secretary Priti Patel has only authorized up to 5,000 Afghan refugees but UK troops on the ground have orders to ‘Ignore numbers and get as many people out as possible.’ They have been told by diplomats that the Home Office can sort out the paperwork later. The Brits have set up a temporary embassy at the Kabul airport. Staff requested to remain so they could help as many people as possible.
— James Durso (@james_durso) August 19, 2021
The evacuation by the British began in earnest on Tuesday and is expected to continue for up to ten days as they rush to get British citizens and Afghans out of the Taliban-ruled hellhole that is Afghanistan.
According to Express UK, the Brits are concerned that the Taliban could use captured heavy artillery against them as they conduct rescues through the heart of Kabul. That artillery was originally provided by the United States and if the terrorists decided to utilize it, they could bombard the airport with it. So far, that has not been the case. But the Taliban have formed a circle around the airport that Afghans have to get through to when entering it.
It is also feared that the Taliban could join with Islamic jihadis and use suicide bombers. Again, that has so far not been the scenario but it would not be unusual for the Taliban to use that form of attack.
(Video Credit: Sky News Australia)
The evacuation plan is called Operation Pitting. It is split into two factions.
Members of the Parachute and Pathfinder Regiments are working to ensure the airport remains secure and protected from Taliban attacks. Special Forces will supply deep intelligence and safe escort for embassy staff and other UK nationals from Kabul to the airport.
Approximately 650 British troops that were taken from the 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is commanded by Brigadier Dan Blanchard, are touted as the UK’s high-readiness response force and have been deployed to Afghanistan for the mission.
Six hundred Royal Marines from 45 Commando were placed on standby. There is no word yet if they have been deployed.
(Video Credit: British Armed Forces Daily)
Warnings were issued to the troops concerning the potential threats they may face during deployment in Afghanistan. Those threats include roadside bombs, suicide bombers, bombardment by captured artillery and drones.
All deployed units will carry grenade launchers and shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons just in case.
A squadron of 120 SAS soldiers and troops from the Special Forces Support Regiment have also landed in Afghanistan. The SAS is coordinating with interpreters to secure local intelligence and receive briefings from fellow Brits and MI6 officers who are based at the British Embassy. The unit includes a communications team as well as a bomb disposal team and a small medical team that will be based at the airfield alongside US special operation teams.
UK embassy staff and diplomatic personnel who live and work close to the airport are slated to be evacuated first. Afghans who are seeking to flee under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy are also gathering at the airport to ask the Brits for help in getting out of the country. An 80-strong Royal Military Police unit will work with six UK Border Force officials to check documents before providing safe passage.
(Video Credit: AFP News Agency)
The paratroopers are working alongside 3,500 U.S. Marines who arrived from Kuwait to assist with evacuations. They are part of Task Force 51 from the Special Purpose Crisis Force aboard the assault ship USS Iwo Jima.
The US Embassy in Afghanistan sent out a second security alert on Wednesday to stranded Americans in Kabul, “The United States government cannot ensure safe passage to the Hamid Karzai International Airport.” Roughly 11,000 Americans are now in effect on their own behind enemy lines.
"THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT ENSURE SAFE PASSAGE TO THE HAMID KARZAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT,” the US Embassy in Kabul told American citizens in a security alert today, per @kylieatwood, adding space on evac flights will now be available on “first come, first serve basis.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 18, 2021
Biden has been humiliated over his botched Afghanistan withdrawal in the UK and elsewhere. The Brits are determined to carry out their rescue efforts despite what Biden orders on the ground.
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