Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Britain is not at war, so what are thousands of troops doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ukraine? Chris Hughes

We do not disclose details of all ongoing operations, says the MoD, as disclosure would prejudice the security of the Armed Forces.

UK tank and helicopter

OVER 4,000 British troops are currently deployed on military operations overseas - even though Britain is officially no longer at war.


Ministry of Defence figures show thousands of British servicemen and women are serving in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Ukraine.
Over 2,300 troops are currently serving in the Middle East with 770 servicemen and women employed in operations against the Islamic State terror group - most of them in war-torn Iraq.
A further 125 troops will be deployed in the next few weeks.
The troops are either flying combat air missions from Cyprus or are helping to train members of the Iraqi Army and Peshmerga fighters in the war against IS.
A further 470 soldiers are still based in Afghanistan, where Britain fought a bloody 14-year war against the Taliban.
Britain stopped taking part in combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 but troops are likely to be based there for many more years.
The figures for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan also include members of the SAS and SBS who are serving as either advisors or in a training role.
Britain’s specials forces are also trying to build and train special forces units in both Iraq and Afghanistan to counter the threat from IS fighters who are now firmly established in both countries.
The British Army has also sent dozens of bomb disposal experts to countries across north Africa as the threat from terrorist suicide attacks and car bombs increases.
One source told the Mirror: “Britain has the best bomb disposal teams in the world. The threat is huge across the Middle East and especially north Africa and many countries have come to us for help.”
The MoD released the figures in a parliamentary questions tabled by the Tory MP Sir Nicolas Soames.
In answering, the MoD also said that over 50 military personnel were also currently based in Ukraine providing training for the country’s armed forces while 120 British personnel are involved on the Nato Baltic Air Policing role.
A further 30 troops were still stationed in Mali in support of EU and UN training missions following terror attacks al-Qaeda based Islamist groups two years ago.
In addition to these there are around 270 personnel on a variety of operations in Africa, including around 200 personnel deployed for the Ebola crisis.
And about 250 military personnel are supporting the UN forces in Cyprus. Around 90 military personnel were also in Nepal following the recent earthquake.
The MoD added: “We do not disclose details of all ongoing operations as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.”
Source: The Mirror

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