The United Kingdom has played a crucial part in Afghanistan’s security situation for almost two decades, as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the country was joining hands with the United States. On October 7, 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 attacks, Blair made the announcement.

British forces, along with security personnel from the United States, began military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda training camps that year by conducting allied airstrikes, according to reports from the Evening Standard.

British boots landed on Afghan soil in November as members of the Royal Marines from 40 Commando, along with allied forces secured the Bagram airfield in the country.

The decades-long military operations in Afghanistan cost nearly 450 British lives and left hundreds of military personnel with severe injuries, according to reports from the Evening Standard.

Earlier this year, United States President Joe Biden announced that he will be pulling out the country’s security forces and conclude the 20-year war, setting the deadline for the withdrawal on September 11, 2021, exactly two decades after the deadly 9/11 attacks.

United States allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including the United Kingdom, later announced that they would be following up on the initiative and making similar efforts. Ben Wallace, the British Secretary of Defense said that the country had been put in a very “difficult position” as continuing operations in Afghanistan would not be easy after the United States forces pullout.

“We can take pride that Britain was part of that effort from the beginning”, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July. He added, “Over the last two decades, 150,000 members of our armed forces have served in Afghanistan – mainly in Helmand province, which was from 2006 onwards a focus of our operation”, according to reports from the Evening Standard.

As the situation in Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul heats up, Britain announced that an additional 600 troops will be deployed to the Asian country to aid the departure of the UK nationals in Afghanistan and those who worked with the country.