From the MoD:
British troops stood shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the United States and Afghanistan to witness the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes lowered for the last time at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex. The ceremony marked the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Read more here. In the picture, Captain Matthew Clark RN, Deputy Commander of Joint Force Support, folds the lowered Union Flag with Camp Bastion's final Garrison Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 John Lilley. [Picture: Sergeant Obi Igbo RLC, Crown copyright]
UK ends combat operations in Helmand
26 October 2014
UK Armed Forces end combat operations in Helmand, paving the way for the final transfer of security to the Afghan National Security Forces.
As they have on the battlefield, British troops stood shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the United States and Afghanistan to witness the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes lowered for the last time at the Bastion-Leatherneck complex.
The ceremony marks the end of operations for Regional Command (Southwest), a UK and US coalition command under the umbrella of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Other contributing nations have included Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Tonga, Jordan and Bosnia.
The UK has had a military presence in Afghanistan since October 2001, when troops deployed as part of the NATO response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US....
Brigadier Rob Thomson, Deputy Commander of RC (SW) and the senior UK officer in Helmand, said:
The formal end of UK combat operations in Afghanistan marks the final step in a deliberate, responsible and measured handover to the ANSF. They are more than ready to take on responsibility for security in Helmand. We can be extremely proud of the part we have played in building a capable, credible and confident Afghan force.
They have the baton, they are ready, and I am struck by their courage and commitment.
We have travelled some hard yards in Helmand alongside our coalition allies, and every single service and branch of the Armed Forces has been part of that effort. We will never forget the 453 soldiers, sailors and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice....
There is much more here.
Any student of history knows that this was not the first time that the British had been in Afghanistan, but this time, according to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, WILL be the last. As the flags are lowered over Helmand, comes this from Daily Mail:
We'll never send British troops back to fight in Afghanistan, pledges Fallon as soldiers make on last assault on the Taliban
27 October 2014
British combat troops will not be deployed in Afghanistan again ‘under any circumstances’, the Defence Secretary has vowed.
Michael Fallon said yesterday: ‘We are not going to send combat troops back into Afghanistan. We’ve made that very, very clear. Under any circumstances, combat troops will not be going in there.’
His comments came as British troops were forced to make one last assault on Taliban positions as they prepared for withdrawal from Camp Bastion. Royal Artillery gunners fired 105mm shells from the base into enemy positions several miles outside the wire....
There are many more pictures - and videos - here. Go look.
Also from the Daily Mail:
They served their country with honour and courage – and 453 paid the ultimate price. But, after 13 years of bloodshed, there will be no memorial in Afghanistan to mark the troops’ sacrifice.
The lives of the young Britons killed fighting the Taliban had been commemorated on memorial walls in Camp Bastion, but as the UK’s campaign in the country ended yesterday, it was confirmed they had been dismantled.
A source said: ‘There is no memorial left in Afghanistan.’ The Army insisted the decision was not because of fears the memorials would be defaced or destroyed. But top-ranking soldiers and relatives of those who were killed said there was an obvious risk they would be ‘desecrated’ by a resurgent Taliban.
Much more - with pictures - here.
Yes, the US Marines left too: Last US Marines left their Afghanistan headquarters.