'Give medals to Operation Pitting soldiers for immense courage during Afghanistan evacuation', Dan Jarvis says

South Yorkshire Mayor and military veteran Dan Jarvis has called on the Government to award medals to all personnel who served in the evacuation of British nationals and Afghans who assisted the UK from Afghanistan.

Lt Cdr Alex Pelham Burns offering water to a child during the Afghanistan evacuation effort. Picture: LPhot Ben Shread/MoD/PA Wire

Mr Jarvis, who was in the Parachute Regiment and served in Afghanistan before his move into politics, said there should be formal recognition of all involved in Operation Pitting, which saw more than 15,000 people evacuated to the UK as the country fell to the Taliban.

The usual Ministry of Defence requirement for receiving a medal for deployment is that service must be for a minimum of 30 continuous days and any medal award for Operation Pitting would require that rule to be waived.

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Mr Jarvis said: “Amidst the chaos and carnage of the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, it was hugely heartening to see young men and women from our Armed Forces – and especially paratroopers from my old regiment – serving with immense courage, dedication and professionalism.

“Given the emphasis our Armed Forces rightly place on the importance of flexibility, I hope the Ministry of Defence has the flexibility to ensure everyone who deployed on Op Pitting gets a medal.

“It’s the very least we owe them after all they’ve done for us.”

More than 8,000 former Afghan staff and their family members were among the 15,000-plus people evacuated by the UK since August 13.

But up to 1,100 Afghans deemed eligible, including those who worked with Britain and other vulnerable people, were estimated to have been left behind.

On Monday, Boris Johnson insisted he will do “everything possible” to help people flee the Taliban, while acknowledging hundreds of Afghans who assisted the UK remain in the country.

The Prime Minister confirmed that 311 people entitled to resettlement under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) are still in Afghanistan.

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