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Navy captain’s Afghan mission goes to border

April 15, 2011

AS the Iranian officials glared from just 50 yards away, naval officer Stuart Borland knew he’d come dangerously close to the border.

After only weeks in Afghanistan, he’d ventured within a stone’s throw of Iran to hold talks with Abdul Karim Brahawi, the Afghan governor of Zaranj – the closest town to the sea in the landlocked country.

Governor Abdul Karim Brahawi greets Captain Stuart Borland. Picture: Portsmouth News

‘It was a bit surreal,’ said Capt Borland, a father-of-two from Portsmouth.

‘There are a row of flag poles across a bridge over the Helmand River – one half of the bridge had Afghan flags and they change to Iranian flags about half-way across. That’s the only way you know where the line is.’

These situations are becoming the norm for the 49-year-old, who is on the front line with US Marines trying to kick-start Afghanistan’s recovery. Since last month, he’s been with the Stability Operations section based at US Camp Leatherneck, next to the UK Camp Bastion in Helmand.

His team is working to help establish local governance and promote economic and social development in Helmand and the neighbouring province of Nimroz, whether that is building schools or – as is the case in Zaranj – developing a secure border crossing to monitor trade.

To read the rest of this article by Michael Powell of the Portsmouth News website, click HERE, or on the image above.

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