Bagpipes announce the beginning of a new phase of UK involvement in the Resolute Support Mission
Story and photos by: Sqn. Ldr. Nick Downs, Royal Air Force
KABUL, Afghanistan (August 23, 2015) — A little piece of history was made in Kabul recently as the sound of drums gave way to the sound of bagpipes.
The Commanding Officer and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment (1 R ANGLIAN) bowed out with honor and dignity at the New Kabul Compound, handing the baton of the Kabul Protection Unit over to The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS).
As part of the larger Kabul Security Force, approximately 200 soldiers from 2 SCOTS will be located at four sites in Kabul protecting ministerial advisors, mentors at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy and the UK’s aviation detachment. Without the KPU and the vital role they fulfil, Operation TORAL, the British element of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission aimed at bringing peace, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan, would not be able to operate in such a safe and secure fashion.
Drawing Op TORAL 1 to a successful close, Lt. Col. Dom Biddick, commanding officer of 1 R ANGLIAN, reflected on his regiment’s achievements during this very different non-combat operation.
"1 Royal Anglian has enjoyed the privilege of helping to establish the new UK-led Kabul Security Force over the past six months. Our men have made a decisive difference to the campaign at a critical juncture,” Biddick said. "Their vital force protection work has kept NATO’s advisors safe and vastly increased the security of coalition personnel within Kabul; and it has been a real honor to soldier alongside our American and Australian counterparts. As we head home after 1 Royal Anglian’s 5th tour of Afghanistan, we do so with a firm sense of professional satisfaction and we look forward to the next challenge.”
Taking over as commanding officer of the KPU, and effectively starting Op TORAL 2, is Lt. Col. Graeme Wearmouth, who also recognizes the significant contribution made by the Royal Anglian Regiment, as well as the unique range of challenges ahead.
"The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland would like to pay tribute to the soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment for their efforts over the last 6 months. It is clear from our handover that the Kabul Protection Unit is in very robust shape,” Wearmouth said. "As we embark on our fourth deployment in Afghanistan, we know that our challenge here will be very different from our previous experiences. We will be operating alongside a rich and varied array of multinational partners and that represents a unique military privilege at a very important time in this enduring mission.”
The Royal Anglian soldiers hail from the Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire area of the UK but will return to their barracks in Woolwich, East London.