Letter on Afghanistan – From COR

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed, via the media and perhaps in person, the end of the mission in Afghanistan which culminated last night in the final extraction of US personnel from Kabul.  I have no doubt that, whether we served in Afghanistan or not, it is not the end we expected or wished to see.

It is not my place as Colonel of your Regiment to comment on the decisions that have been made that have led to the scenes we have witnessed.  What I can say is that, over the multiple tours conducted by Lancers during Op HERRICK, whether as part of a formed unit or as individual reinforcements, we should be immensely proud of the way that we conducted ourselves as soldiers.   Asked to do some of the most demanding tasks, including the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and advisory training teams, the professionalism and courage of our officers and soldiers has lived up to the finest traditions of our Regiment and its antecedents – it is a fine chapter to have written in our Regimental history.  

I suspect that many of you will, like me, have found yourself wondering how we have ended back with the Taliban in charge and with an end that unravelled so quickly.  You may also have found yourself wondering if it was worth the effort and sacrifice of fellow Lancers, particularly of those who died or have been scarred either physically or mentally, and of the hurt caused to their families and communities. 

The value we put on anything will always be a personal matter, but from my perspective the example we set as soldiers carries a weight of its own, while the achievements on the ground, which seem temporary in immediate hindsight, have the chance to make lasting impact.  We are hearing from the Taliban that they are different and, whether we believe them or not, the very fact that they are engaging and feeling they have to justify themselves is an indication that something has altered.  You will also all have personal memories of individual acts of kindness that will have materially affected somebody – and that in itself is an achievement.

With many memories stirred by recent events now is a good time for us all to think about how we can support our fellow Lancers and their families.  Take time to check that those who you know need help are getting it, and reconnect with those who have perhaps dropped off the radar but who may benefit from a chat.

Finally, we are holding a service of thanksgiving for the lives of those who died during the Covid pandemic at St Wulfram’s Church in Grantham on 17th September.  We will be broadening that service to remember our service in Afghanistan.  Everyone is welcome to join us.  If you want any more details please contact Home Headquarters.

With best wishes and grateful thanks for your service,