Welsh troops based in Afghanistan have been praised for their “incredible spirit” by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, after a 24-hour visit to Kabul.
Mr Cairns visited soldiers of the Welsh Guards to learn more about their role in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The Welsh Guards are providing security and mentoring to Afghan officials as the country’s Government continues its work of reconstruction.
Mr Cairns said:
“I was inspired by the incredible spirit and determination of the soldiers I met who are doing their job in a volatile and often dangerous environment.
The Secretary of State for Wales visited the regiment’s base, sat in on preparations for a patrol and also learned about their support for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy – often described as the country’s equivalent to Sandhurst – which is producing the Afghan army’s future officers.
He said: “This is a regiment with a century-long history of serving across the world in conflicts from WWII to Palestine and the Falklands.
"They are now on their third tour of duty in Afghanistan and showing the incredible spirit they always do.
“Having heard from the soldiers first-hand about their life in Kabul, I am incredibly proud of what the Welsh Guards are doing.
“While I have always championed our Welsh servicemen and women, being in Afghanistan really brought home to me the work they do in dangerous circumstances. All of Wales owes them a vote of thanks.”
There is currently 260 soldiers of the Welsh Guards battlegroup deployed to Kabul as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.
The Welsh Football and Rugby Union teams provided the Welsh Secretary with signed shirts to deliver to soldiers in Kabul.
They are now proudly hanging on display inside the Kabul Barracks.
Mr Cairs said: “I am really pleased our football and rugby teams came up with the shirts as a recognition of the important work being done by our troops.
"They are doing a fantastic job in a volatile climate, and it is vital that our soldiers know they are always in our thoughts. These shirts are a permanent reminder of that.”