Luke Pollard MP has called on the government to recognise the service personnel who took part in the evacuation of Afghanistan with service medals.
More than 1,000 UK personnel took part in Operation Pitting, which airlifted 15,000 people fleeing oppression and persecution to safety as the country fell to the Taliban. The mission was the largest of its kind since the Second World War and Labour has said that this ‘astonishing feat’ deserves formal recognition. Mr Pollard and his team are working with over 100 people with a connection to Plymouth still in Afghanistan, trying to get them to safety. He was pleased to see the return of 12 people from Plymouth back in the city, but is continuing to push the government to find safe routes out for the remaining people at risk from the Taliban.
Luke Pollard and Labour’s Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan have written to the Defence Secretary to urge him to honour service personnel with medals. Under existing criteria, troops would not receive medals as the mission did not meet the 30-days continuous service for which they are awarded.
Labour has dismissed this as an ‘arbitrary timeframe’ and said that the criteria for medallic recognition needed to shift to reflect the changing nature of conflicts that our armed forces are involved in.
“The government has made a mess of the situation in Afghanistan, no one can deny that the bravery, compassion and integrity of our armed forces displayed during their dangerous mission deserves formal recognition.
Ministers should swiftly move to recognise the efforts of our service personnel.”
More on Labour’s campaign to recognise Operation Pitting veterans with medals here