‘School’s In’ at Rahim as Brits Face Down Insurgents.
As the insurgents’ grip on Helmand’s Upper Gereshk Valley loosens every day, under the relentless pressure of British troops, children in the area are now able to pursue education in defiance of Taleban intent.
During a patrol in the village of Rahim Kalay this week, soldiers from No.4 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards dropped in to a newly-built school to see the positive effect on local people that their aggressive assaults on the insurgency have brought about.
Joined by members of a Danish-led Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Team, which also works in the area, the Windsor-based Irish Guards troops observed a class in progress, with 25 youngsters aged between eight and 10 learning mathematics and algebra.
Whilst the Irish Guards continue provide security in the area in partnership with Danish troops and the Afghan National Army, the CIMIC team has been working to develop education opportunities for the young people of the area’s communities.
Captain Jonathan Boardman, of 1st Battalion Irish Guards, explained:
“Over the past few months, the security of the local community in Rahim Kalay has improved tenfold. The markedly-improved security climate is enabling our colleagues from the CIMIC team to make plans to further enhance the village’s education programme. A larger school, which will accommodate more students, is already in the making.
The Taleban want to oppress the people, keep them subservient and deny them the opportunities of government assistance. They intimidate parents to stop them sending their children to school. But the efforts of the Irish Guardsmen in this area are keeping the insurgents away. The increased security bubble set by our regular patrolling allows locals to be free of intimidation.”
Lieutenant Commander Noe Isgaard, of the CIMIC team, said:
“Because of the improvement in the security situation, children are now allowed to go to school. They are coming and greeting us every time we go on patrol. They come to say hello and talk with us.
Hopefully the new school in Rahim will open in two to three months. We hope to get some teachers from Gereshk to come and live in the village and teach the children. This will make room for new children and we’ll also have classes for females.”
Staff Sergeant Theis Olsen, also of the CIMIC, added:
“These small classrooms and school are the building blocks for a more prosperous Afghanistan. Education is the key to building up a country. It gives the kids here the opportunity to be something other than farmers.
For kids to know that there are things happening around the country, other than just in their own town, makes them understand that educations is vital for their future.”