Prime Minister David Cameron has paid a pre-Christmas visit to British troops serving in Afghanistan.
He flew into Kandahar airfield where he met members of RAF 12(B) Squadron. The squadron, which is based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, flies operations across the whole of Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister was shown around a Tornado jet, and also met US General James Huggins, the head of ISAF Regional Command South, for discussions on military progress in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister joined soldiers and air personnel in the services’ canteen where they chatted over a mug of tea.
Speaking in Kandahar Mr Cameron said:
There are two messages for me on the trip. One is about transition where one of the things that has been noticeable on our monthly reports to parliament is that the growth of the Afghan National Army is either on target or ahead of target every month. I think that is encouraging. If you look at where Britain is in Helmand, the three parts we are in, Lashkar Gah, Nahr-e-Seraj and Nad-e-Ali: Lashkar Gah is transitioning; Nad-e-Ali will transition shortly; and Nahr-e-Seraj will transition eventually before we leave. That is a good story of transition that is taking place.
The other thing I wanted to highlight on this trip is that, while I think there is more to be done on the military covenant, the government has made a good start writing it into the law, doubling the operational allowance, exempting Armed Service personnel from a whole lot of council tax, introducing the Pupil Premium for Forces’ families, putting them to the top of First Buy housing policies and many other things. I am establishing this Cabinet committee. I will chair the first one, then Oliver Letwin will be taking it over, but it will report directly to me to make sure that we drive this agenda of trying to help Armed Service families and personnel right across government. That agenda is very important to me. We have the first report on the military covenant coming out today.