Afghanistan

How Is Norfolk Preparing Troops For Operations In Afghanistan?

Colchester-based 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment is deploying to Kabul at the end of September.

Paratroopers are getting behind the wheel in Norfolk to prepare for operations in Afghanistan.

Colchester-based 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment is deploying to Kabul at the end of September.

The current training venue may be a far cry from the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.

However, with more of a protection and advising role ahead, Exercise Kabul Convoy is taking place in the STANTA ranges in the Norfolk countryside.

The exercise has been made as authentic as possible.

The aim is to simulate what could be faced in the country, including meeting and taking senior Afghan advisers to secure locations.

With the creation of a makeshift Afghan village, the location has been made as authentic as possible.

Training Officer, Captain Tom Shaw, said: "We're using mobility and vehicles to get round Kabul now, which is different to the light role that we deployed in originally.

"So that's been the key thing that we've been trying to get used to here, is in getting used to using vehicles rather than the light roe that we're normally used to."

Lance Corporal Talbot Percy-Bell said: "Helps quite a lot because it gets us used to the layout everything's going to be and the way that we can actually prepare to set up and move around to the villages."

The paratroopers have been practising for scenarios which they could face in Kabul, such as convoy movements and recovering a broken-down vehicle (Picture: British Army).

For many of the soldiers, this is their first tour, including Private Tim O’Connor. He recently left his recruitment job in London to join the Army as a paratrooper.

"I got out of it to go and do something new, and get outdoors and just be challenged every day, so it's definitely fulfilled that. I'm no longer behind a desk - the Foxhound is probably classed as my new desk.

"Slightly nervous, but we've done heaps of training in the build-up to it".

The 350 paratroopers will leave for Afghanistan at the end of September, and will be deployed for six months, on what is 2 PARAS' biggest deployment to the country since 2010.