Sunday August 15: In the early morning, the evacuees were brought to the airfield. Ensuring the safe passage of civilians at the airport was a “phenomenal” effort, which required coordination between the Royal Air Force and other agencies, including the US military, Afghan police and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development. Office. Once inside, the evacuees were fed and given the opportunity to rest. However, the soldier said “conditions were basic, reflecting the urgency of extraction.” Those who had been rescued were “relieved to come out.” “A friendly British face goes a long way,” said Private A. By nightfall, the capital had fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
Monday August 16: By 11:30 am, 2 Para had completed its first evacuation of approximately 200 British nationals from Afghanistan. Packaged in a military plane, the evacuees traveled to the UK via another location in the Middle East. “The guys and girls here have been amazing,” said Private A. “Likewise, some Afghans have been incredibly brave. “
With the first evacuees safe in the air, the soldiers then occupied the Baron Hotel complex about 600 meters from the perimeter of the airport, working 24 hours a day. “I sleep less than an hour at a time “said Private A.” I have completely lost track of days. “
Tuesday August 17: Crowds of people gathered around the entrance to the airport. “It’s chaos,” said Private A. “People are fighting for their lives to get in and the British soldiers are in the forefront. The Taliban seemed to make it extremely difficult for those who sought to be evacuated. “People tremble with fear when they come to us because of the ordeal of overtaking the Taliban to reach us,” he added.
The emotional strain of what they see – men and women sobbing, begging for their lives – takes its toll on the soldiers. “We do a job that volunteers us for some of the most extreme environments on the planet,” said Private A. “We understand that when we sign on the dotted line, and we do what we have to do. But that doesn’t mean we always like it.
Wednesday August 18: The soldiers are aware of how unprecedented it is to operate collegially with the Taliban. Many in the field fought them in the 20 Years War and lost colleagues along the way. However, today they are not obstructing. “I’m pretty much on joint patrol with them,” said Private A. “That means we’re standing about five feet from them. It’s surreal. To get by, he said, “I’m separating the two now”, but admitted that the whole situation was “pretty unfathomable”.
“I’m a little concerned, maybe less about the change in behavior of the Taliban, more about the desperation of the people,” he said.