Royal Marines - Helmand Province

Photograph: Gaz Faulkner/PA

The UK is to pull out 2,000 British troops from Afghanistan. In 2012 David Cameron made a pledge to totally pull all combat forces out from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. This followed the United States pledging first to pull half of their combat forces leaving only a force to train the Afghan National Army (ANA) by 2014.

As it stands now, the British military has suffered 12 seriously injured casualties and 6 killed in action (KIA) in 2013 so far. At the end of 2012 British forces faced 35 killed in action (KIA) and 44 seriously injured. Britain’s death toll in the 12 years that it has been in Afghanistan totals 444. Britain has been and is the 2nd highest contributor of military forces after the United States, which had a force that peaked over 100,000 when Obama sent in an additional 30,000 “surge force”.

Is the Afghan National Army ready to take over Afghanistan?

To meet the requirements of the PM’s 2012 pledge the 2,000 troops will be pulled out leaving around 5,200 British troops by the end of 2013 from a force of 7,900. The UK has also scaled down the amount of bases it has in Afghanistan from 137 to just 13 bases and will further cut the amount of bases to only 4 or 5. The quick pull out of troops bring into question whether or not the Afghan National Army (ANA) are ready to provide security for themselves. Following this, British Army Lt. Gen. Nick Carter thinks only 5 of the ANA’s 26 combat brigades can function independently of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Should NATO be leaving Afghanistan in the hands of an untrained force? Who knows. It seems that UK and US forces are committed to ending the Afghan War On Terror episode by 2014; no matter how the situation plays out.

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