Royal Irish troops earn plaudits in Afghanistan

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Three months into their tour of duty in Afghanistan, the troops of the Royal Irish Regiment provided an update on their progress.

In December they took over duties as the Kabul Protection Unit, providing security, training and support for their partners and allies in Afghanistan.

The 600-strong battalion is based around three locations – the army academy, the city centre and the airport.

Major Graham Rainey, commanding officer of D Company, said his soldiers have continued to earn plaudits for their “professionalism, keen sense of humour and can-do attitude”.

He said: “Battling driving snow, icy road conditions, temperatures below zero, a grumpy OC and mentors, the team has, as you would expect, kept focused and are making a difference. The latter is not easy in such a short timeframe, yet in every department there is a drive to improve.”

Royal Irish will spend eight months in Afghanistan in very changeable weather conditions.

Capt Darren Clarke, quartermaster at Qargha, said: “We arrived in Kabul in the sunshine however during the last few weeks we have had some pretty heavy snowfall. It was great to see the D Coy soldiers beating the Australian Platoon in a snowball fight – which wasn’t difficult as for most of the Aussies it was their first time seeing snow.”

He added: “The facilities here are good, hot water, showers, Wi-Fi, coffee shops and even a tailor. Sometimes you forget you are in Afghanistan.”

Lance Corporal Holbrooke of Taipan Platoon said: “Our tasks range from providing security for the RAF Puma Force here to facilitating VIP meetings with the ANA.

“We also help an equipment specialist enable the ANA vehicle fleet to safely conduct operations around Kabul. As a section commander for these tasks I enjoy meeting the locals we are here to help and getting to know some of them over time and share the occasional brew.”