Nearly 1,000 troops have gone through final preparations for their imminent deployment to Afghanistan. The deployment sees 1st Battalion The Rifles and 1st Battalion The Royal Irish operating together for the first time since World War Two.
Both Battalions come under the operational command of 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales. Their final training took place this week at Caerwent and included exercises simulating the kind of situations the troops could face in the Afghan capital. On the ground, the units will take up a protection role, working alongside the Afghan military and government.
Brigadier Alan Richmond, head of the Army in Wales and Commander 160 Brigade, said the deployment was significant, for a number of reasons.
The first time Riflemen and Rangers will operate beside each other since World War Two.
He said: “This is a true UK endeavour with the British Army showing off the best bonds of the union, with the deployment supported by Reservists from 6th Battalion The Rifles and 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish, who also come under my command, with Scottish and Welsh soldiers also serving with the units.
“This is also the first time Riflemen and Rangers will operate beside each other since World War Two."
The main effort of the deployment is for Riflemen and Rangers to provide armoured force protection to NATO advisors to allow them to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its institutions.
UK troops will be deployed to several locations within Kabul as part of the NATO mission, Resolute Support. The troops deploy in various stages from mid-March for a six-month tour.