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Chief hails UK's Afghan campaign
4:47pm Thursday 31st July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Britain could not have expected a "stronger, more committed, or more courageous" performance from its troops in Afghanistan, the head of the army has said.
General Sir Peter Wall paid tribute to military personnel during his last visit to Afghanistan as Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British army.
Gen Wall is due to be succeeded as CGS by Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Carter, whose appointed was announced in September.
During his visit to Helmand Province and Kabul, Gen Wall met personnel from all three services and supporting civilians, discussing the redeployment of people and equipment while supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
The drawdown of British troops from Afghanistan is under way, with all combat personnel due to have left by the end of the year.
Gen Wall said: "I think there's a tremendous resilience and real will to get the governance systems to work to get normality restored to their way of life: to get their tribal issues in balance and to reject the intimidation and aggression the Taliban have been offering.
"We need to just concentrate on finishing our presence here in Camp Bastion and our contribution here in Helmand.
"As I reflect on that as I leave the Army I don't think we could have expected a stronger or more committed performance, or a more courageous performance, from our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines - men and women."
Gen Wall met with Regional Command (Southwest) Commandant General, US Marine Corps Brigadier General Daniel Yoo, and his deputy commander Brigadier Rob Thomson, the most senior British officer in Helmand.
He was briefed on the situation on the ground and the increased capability of the ANSF, who are said to lead 99% per cent of operations across Afghanistan, and also met members of the Manoeuvre Battle Group, which conducts force protection operations around Camp Bastion.
Its commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Collins said: "As the last combat troops in Helmand, the 5 Rifles Manoeuvre Battle Group were delighted to be able to give Gen Wall an insight into life outside the wire and reassure him that the British legacy of a strong ANSF in control of Helmand was indeed the case."
During his visit, the general also met the Brigade Advisory Team (Bat), who mentor their Afghan counterparts; the Joint Air Group (Jag) and Medical Emergency Response Team (Mert); and staff from Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) who are handling the challenge of the redeployment from Afghanistan.
Earlier, in Kabul he met senior International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) commanders including Commander Isaf, General Joseph Dunford, and also met B ritish Ambassador Sir Richard Stagg.