Gurkhas put through paces at STANTA training area near Thetford for Afghanistan deployment

Gurkhas prepare for Kabul mission Gurkhas are training with a pack of Foxhounds as they prepare to d

Gurkhas prepare for Kabul mission Gurkhas are training with a pack of Foxhounds as they prepare to deploy to Kabul. - Credit: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

The Gurkhas have been put through their paces at a Norfolk military training facility as they prepare for deployment to Afghanistan.

Gurkhas prepare for Kabul mission Gurkhas are training with a pack of Foxhounds as they prepare to d

Gurkhas prepare for Kabul mission Gurkhas are training with a pack of Foxhounds as they prepare to deploy to Kabul. - Credit: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

The Folkestone-based 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (2 RGR) will head to Kabul in April for an eight month tour.

With a mission to protect NATO military and civilian advisers, as well as UK advisers, the battalion has been preparing at STANTA, near Thetford, this week.

The light infantrymen have been learning about working from Foxhound patrol vehicles.

Scenarios have included recovering a broken down vehicle.

Captain Bikulman Rai, second-in-command of B Company, said: 'Our role in Kabul will be to provide force protection to the NATO advisers helping the development of the Afghan Army and Government. We will be protecting the mentors when they go out to support training or attend meetings.

'We have been working with the Foxhound for several months and our soldiers have shown the flexibility to adapt to a different way of operating quite easily. The training has been very thorough and we feel like we are pretty much ready to go.'

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Some 400 Gurkhas will start to deploy to Kabul from their base at Sir John Moore Barracks in Shorncliffe in April, with the eight-month tour split into two roulements.

Rifleman Hari Rai, 22, said: 'I've trained as a Foxhound driver for this tour and the more time I've spent behind the wheel and training with my colleagues the more confident I feel.

'It's a really good vehicle with strong protection against IEDs and small arms fire.

'Kabul will be my first tour and I'm excited to deploy. I've been in the Army for three years and I'm looking forward to using the skills and drills I've learnt on an operation.'

2 RGR deployed on three tours of Helmand Province before the end of NATO combat operations in late 2014, with the focus for this tour on enabling the training of Afghan forces.

Corporal Pratap Tamang has deployed on three tours of Afghanistan. The 31-year-old section commander said: 'We've been learning a lot about how to operate from the Foxhound, and everyone's keen to go out and do the job.'

What do you think? Email andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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