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Force being put to the test
10:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Andover
TIDWORTH soldiers will be part of an 8,000 strong deployment to Afghanistan this spring.
And the Andover Advertiser got a glimpse of the preparation they are going through in the months before Operation Herrick 18 leaves for the war-torn country in April.
Armed forces from across Britain will join 1 Mechanized Brigade to take over the role of T a s k F o r c e Helmand, working c l o s e l y with the A f g h a n National Army.
At the B a d e n s C l u m p training f a c i l i t y near Tidw o r t h , t r o o p s d e m o n - strated how they will work with Afghans, leading towards the eventual withdrawal of British Armed Forces from the country by the end of 2014.
This included drill displays and activities to show the partnership that exists with the Afghan National Security Force, with 80 per cent of the work handed over to the native force.
Brigadier Rupert Jones, commander of 1 Mechanized Brigade, said about the forthcoming deployment: “I am not saying this will be easy, not being in control is not comfortable and we Brigadier Rupert Jones The service personnel have undergone training in all the scenarios they will encounter once they are in Afghanistan. Pictures: Hannah Powell are not in control, as the Afghans are.
But that’s a mark of the progression we are making.
“Afghanistan has made real progress.
The situation really is transformed.
“This is an important summer for Afghans where they have got to prove to themselves and others that they are ready for what lies ahead.”
For Lieutenant Chris Rose and Captain George Andrews, both of 22 Engineer R e g i m e n t , based in Perham Down Tidworth, the six month deployment is what they have been working towards for two years.
Capt Andrews said: “I have been with the regiment for two years and this is my first tour of Afghanistan.
“For me it is all about getting to this point and I have extended my time to go into it.
“You couldn’t join the Army without envisaging going to Afghanistan at some time.”
Lt Rose added: “Eve r yone trains to go to Afghani- stan.
“I chose to join t h i s r e g im e n t because of it.”