Sunset behind Gardez mountains in Afghanistan 150618 CREDIT NATO
Afghanistan

How Has Coronavirus Impacted British Troops Deployed To Afghanistan?

It comes as doctors in Afghanistan are warning the country's health services are struggling to cope with cases of COVID-19.

Sunset behind Gardez mountains in Afghanistan 150618 CREDIT NATO

A British Army officer has been speaking to Forces News about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on British troops deployed to Afghanistan. 

There are around 1,000 UK troops currently based in the country as part of a NATO mission there, helping to provide security to government officials.

As well as completing their duties, the troops are also having to deal with the threat of coronavirus as well as continued violence with attacks from the Taliban and other militants.

Speaking from Kabul, Lieutenant Tom Redman, Task Line Commander with 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, told Forces News: "On deployment, we’re taking the same measures that everyone in the UK is taking.

"We’re keeping our two-metre distance, hygiene has taken on new prominence, we’re wiping down surfaces regularly, we’re just trying to protect the force so that we don’t diminish the quality of our output."

It comes as doctors in Afghanistan are warning its health services are struggling to cope with cases of COVID-19.

More than 30,000 infections have been recorded so far in the country but the level of testing is low and close to half of all tests have been positive.

Lt Redman said staying in contact with loved ones has been vital for his soldiers during the deployment. 

WATCH: Lt Redman speaks to Forces News.

"Thankfully we’ve got wifi - it generally works quite well," he said.

"We’ve also got a very good post service, so actually, the Army has made sure we've continued to be well provided for in terms of welfare.

"My soldiers have particularly enjoyed getting parcels from home, from family, from friends."

4 SCOTS' deployment comes at a time of heightened violence in Afghanistan, as well as a global pandemic, but their work remains important. 

"We continue to provide our output and we continue to respond and support the government of Afghanistan," Lt Redman said.

"So there's been no real change to our capability and we ensure that our skills and training are to the highest level."

This interview was originally from Sitrep, the home of our military analysis and debate. You can hear the programme live on Thursdays on BFBS Radio 2 at 16:30 (UK time) and at 18:30 (UK time) BFBS via DAB+ across the UK. 

Listen online and via our radio App in the UK and overseas. BFBS is also on FM in Scotland, Colchester, Salisbury Plain, Aldershot, Catterick, Brize Norton, Lisburn, Holywood, Aldergrove and Blandford Forum in the UK and on all overseas stations and on Sky channel 0211/Freesat 786.

Listen to the Sitrep podcast via the links below.

Cover image: Gardez mountains in Afghanistan (Picture: NATO).