British troops could leave Afghanistan within days: Report

The last British troops in Afghanistan are expected to leave “within days” after American forces are rumored to have brought forward their withdrawal date to mark US Independence Day, the UK’s Daily Mail reported Thursday.

According to the report, more than 200 Black Watch soldiers will fly home in the next few days, ending the UK’s 20-year deployment.

Before leaving they will take part in a flag-lowering ceremony alongside US forces to honour the 456 British troops killed there since the campaign began, the Mail reported.

This comes after the withdrawal this week of German and Italian troops.

The Mail also reported that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce security plans for the British Embassy and the UK ambassador in Kabul next week.

The Mail also reported that after reports emerged on Wednesday of an early departure by US troops, UK defence sources indicated British troops would be pulling out “within days”. For security reasons, no precise details were released, the Mail reported.

However, according to the report, the UK Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday night: “The UK is involved in ongoing discussions with US and international allies regarding the future of our support to Afghanistan.”

The former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt meanwhile told the Mail that he was “very saddened by what appears to be happening in Afghanistan as it looks like a rapid implosion in security could occur.

“I would never say it was not worth it but the present situation makes it so much harder to argue that British troops did not die in vain. Sadly their tactical endeavours and their sacrifices did not achieve strategic stability.”

He added: “The campaign has been very expensive for us in blood and treasure.”