Brigadier James Martin, CO of 16 Air Assault Brigade, warned that British soldiers could not ‘unsee’ the horrors and would need help to recover from the ‘harrowing’ deployment
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Young paras who rushed to help the wounded and dying after the devastating suicide bombings at Kabul airport have been given online counselling.
The news comes after Brigadier James Martin, CO of 16 Air Assault Brigade, warned that British soldiers could not “unsee” the horrors and would need help to recover from the “harrowing” deployment.
Last week’s IS-K attacks killed 13 US marines and more than 130 civilians as thousands thronged the airport in the hope of escaping the Taliban.
Brig Martin told how the brave Brits “ran towards explosions” during the double suicide attack and described a “scene of chaos” as they secured the area alongside US forces. They helped treat casualties, including a baby.
He added: “Did they see harrowing things? Did they see some of the worst and best of humanity? Absolutely.”
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Brig Martin called the actions of his soldiers “one of the finest things I have seen” during Oper- ation Pitting – the nation’s largest evacuation since The Second World War.
It airlifted more than 15,000 people out of the clutches of the Taliban. Brig Martin said his soldiers immediately recognised the first explosion as a suicide bomb and darted to the gate where it went off.
“Two to three seconds later, we were hit by a wave of CS gas, effectively the vaporisation of gas American soldiers were carrying” he told Sky News.
“They [the Paras] provided support to the Americans, and a security perimeter so the Americans could withdraw their wounded, and killed.”
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The Paras had counselling via Zoom and also took part in trauma risk management sessions with senior NCOs to discuss traumatic events.
Six hundred soldiers from 2 Para were the first to land at Hamid Karzai International when the airlift began last month.
Based at the Baron Hotel, the soldiers got out most British nationals in 24 hours, then moved to dual nationals and those who had aided the Allies.
Today it was reported the airport had been reopened to receive aid and would soon be fit for civilian flights.
Meanwhile the Taliban said they had beaten resistance forces in the Panjshir Valley, the last bastion of resistance to them. But rebel leaders dispute this.
At least 17 people were killed and more than 40 hurt in celebratory Taliban gunfire in Kabul on Friday.