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British soldiers watching the after effects of a 500lb bomb dropped on an enemy position in Musa Qala

War in Afghanistan

Britain's latest war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the '9/11' terrorist attacks on the United States. It continued for 13 years with the last combat troops leaving the country on 26 October 2014.

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Explore Afghanistan stories

Chantelle Taylor during an oral history recording, 2016

In Their Own Words: Staff Sergeant Chantelle Taylor

Chantelle Taylor served as a combat medic during the recent conflict in Afghanistan. In 2008, while on patrol in Helmand Province, she became the first female British soldier to kill an enemy combatant at close quarters.

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Detail from the painting 'Inside Mastiff 33A'

Inside Mastiff 33A (‘Withdrawing, We Don’t Retreat’), February 2010

This painting by Jules George captures the claustrophobic conditions inside a British patrol vehicle during the war in Afghanistan.

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Corporal Danny Groves, Royal Irish Regiment, Afghanistan, 2006

Corporal Danny Groves

Danny Groves served as a mortar section commander with the Royal Irish Regiment in Afghanistan in 2006. At Musa Qala, he was embroiled in one of the Army’s most intense and gruelling sieges of recent times.

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Medical staff at Camp Bastion in Helmand, c2008

Army medics in Afghanistan

During the war in Afghanistan, Army medics at Camp Bastion Hospital treated thousands of wounded soldiers and civilians. Medical staff also provided vital support during patrols and combat operations.

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Saving the guns at Maiwand, 1880

Second Afghan War

Between 1878 and 1880, British-Indian forces fought a war to ensure that Afghanistan remained free from Russian interference. Although eventually successful, the British suffered several setbacks in their struggle to control the volatile country.

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Tribesmen from Kohistan, a region north-east of Kabul, c1842

First Afghan War

Between 1839 and 1842, British imperial forces fought a bitter war in Afghanistan. Initially successful, the British eventually withdrew having suffered one of the worst military disasters of the 19th century.

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A Mahsud tribesmen, c1919

Third Afghan War and the Revolt in Waziristan

In May 1919, conflict broke out between British India and Afghanistan. Although peace was quickly agreed, the violence spread to the North West Frontier, challenging British control of that region.

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General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1894

Frederick Roberts: Bobs

Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts was one of Britain’s most successful military commanders of the 19th century, winning victories during the Second Afghan War and revitalising the British campaign in the Boer War. 

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Major-General Robert Sale, c1845

Robert Sale: Fighting Bob

Major-General Sir Robert Sale served in several important campaigns on the Indian subcontinent. He skillfully commanded the besieged garrison at Jalalabad during the First Afghan War, before being killed in action in the First Sikh War.

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Gurkhas at Peiwar Kotal, 1878

The Gurkhas

Nepalese soldiers known as Gurkhas have fought for Britain since 1815. Here we explore their history and find out why they have long been regarded among the finest and fiercest soldiers.

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British soldiers watching the bombing of an enemy position in Musa Qala, 2006

War in Afghanistan

Britain's most recent war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the '9/11' terrorist attacks on the United States. It continued for 13 years with the last combat troops leaving the country on 26 October 2014.

explore this story

Explore Afghanistan learning resources

Outside an advanced dressing station at Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, Western Front, April 1917

KS4-KS5 (Ages 14+)

Health and Medicine in the Army: Interactive Timeline

Uncover the history of medical developments in the British Army through this interactive timeline packed with nearly 200 sources.

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