Ever since 2003 the US Coast Guard has had small teams on the ground in Afghanistan to inspect and certify shipments heading from the war back to the US, but now with combat operations in Afghanistan ending months ago, that team's mission is ending, and the Coast Guard is pulling out of Afghanistan all together.
The Coast Guard's current Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment (RAID) team consists of 15 Coast Guardsmen and deployed to Kuwait, Iraq, 9 months ago. Since that time they have been travelling around Afghanistan to small Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to assist Army units that are also preparing to leave. Over the past 12 years, the Coast Guard has sent 256 personnel on RAID missions, and these Coast Guardsmen on the ground in Afghanistan have played a critical role in keeping the military shipping running smoothly.
Previously to the Coast Guard RAID teams, the Army upper brass were consistently frustrated by military equipment and shipments being help up by failing their hazardous materials inspections. Since the Coast Guard has such vast experience with inspecting cargo (especially time-sensitive cargo), their involvement in inspecting and certifying the cargo before it left Afghanistan has helped the Army save money and time.
The Coast Guard does still have a small fleet of cutters in Bahrain, providing security and assistance in the Persian Gulf. The current USCG RAID team is expected to land at Norfolk International Airport on May 11.