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Royal Irish troops praise Afghan partners

May 1, 2011

Home from their tour in Helmand’s Nad ‘Ali (South) area, the soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment have praised their partners of the past six months, the Afghan security forces.

In a husky voice, raw not from celebratory pints of Guinness but from recent homecoming parades, Lieutenant Colonel Colin Weir, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH), briefed members of the media.

Major James Coleby, 1 R IRISH, shares a joke with an Afghan soldier during Operation TORA ZHEMAY VI (Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011)

As part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 1 R IRISH had just returned from their deployment to Nad ‘Ali (South), and the Colonel was keen to talk about their successes.

When the 1,000 men and women under his command arrived to form the core of Combined Force Nad ‘Ali for HERRICK 13, with a squadron of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment to transport them around in their formidable Mastiff armoured vehicles, they and their coalition partners had one aim:

“Whether we were British, American or Afghan, we all wanted one thing,” said Lt Col Weir, “to help develop the people’s confidence by providing them a secure enough space that their government could help them achieve a better life.”

Illustration showing relative geographical locations of Zarghun Kalay centre, the 'Red Wedge' and Route Plymouth in Helmand province (Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011)

Although the efforts of preceding battle groups, such as the Grenadier Guards and 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, had forced the Taliban out of the northern part of Zarghun Kalay, there was still a thorn in the side of the district – a Taliban sanctuary known as the ‘Red Wedge’. It was a thorn 1 R IRISH were determined to remove.

To read the rest of this article on the MOD website, click HERE, or on either of the images above.

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