Norfolk and Suffolk soldiers back in Afghanistan with Royal Anglians
- Credit: Army Media Communications Chetwynd Barracks
Hundreds of soldiers from across our region have returned to Afghanistan to help train the Afghan army.
More than 280 soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Anglian Regiment are taking part in Operation Toral, the British contribution to NATO's support mission in Afghanistan which began in 2015.
Their deployment will see them join troops from Estonia, Finland, Australia, America and Denmark, who form the Kabul Security Force (KSF).
Maj Nick McGinley, officer commanding C Company (Essex) of the Royal Anglians, said: 'We will be moving in civilian armoured vehicles or on foot to provide the force protection. We will be working with our NATO allies which will be a good experience for our junior soldiers.'
The KSF provides force protection and secure transport for UK and coalition mentors, a role which is often referred to as a guardian angel.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion practised their core infantry skills in readiness for their six-month deployment.
Whilst in Kabul, the Vikings will be using a combination of civilian armoured vehicles and foot patrols to move the mentors, who are training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces, around the area.
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A spokesman said the 'agile and well-protected reinforced 4x4 vehicles', also known Foxhounds, were well suited for operating within the urban area of Kabul and had been used by the British armed forces since 2010.
The soldiers will also provide a quick reaction force in support of Afghan security forces, on standby to respond to any major incident in Kabul.
For 13 years, between 2001 and 2014, the UK was involved in the conflict in Afghanistan against the Taliban and fighters from al-Qaeda.
The conflict was sparked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Britain first deployed ground troops in Afghanistan in November 2001 and by the time the UK began withdrawing their troops in October 2014, 456 British soldiers had died.
The Royal Anglian Regiment has been active since its formation in 1964, as one of the new large infantry regiments, through the amalgamation of the regiments of the East Anglia Brigade.