Pirbright based 1st Battalion Welsh Guards are preparing to deploy on Op Toral 6, the code name given to the UK mission in Afghanistan after British troops withdrew from Helmand in 2014.

They will be in Afghanistan by April but before their deployment, the Battalion is on Exercise Kabul Dawn in Wales.

They are halfway through the two-week validation exercise and this is the final opportunity for the soldiers to practise their infantry skills and demonstrate they are capable of meeting even the hardest of challenges. Natasha Reneaux spoke to Maj Mattinson, 2IC 1st Battalion Welsh Guards during the exercise.

“This week they have a final opportunity to be tested over a period of four and a half days against all the training objectives required to deploy.”

1st Battalion Welsh Guards Exercise Kabul Dawn Caerwent Wales Afghanistan Defence News Imagery DNI

What are 1st Battalion Welsh Guards training for specifically and what will they be faced with when they arrive in Afghanistan?

“The majority of the tasks which the battalion will undertake are Armed Force Protection tasks so the battalion will be deployed in order to allow the coalition mentors to do their jobs.

“Our job in theatre will be to allow those mentors to go about their business in safety and security while we ensure that the Afghans are gaining the maximum benefit.”

Welsh international rugby union player Sam Warburton visited the Welsh Guards while on exercise in Caerwent, Wales. He took the time to meet and encourage the men ahead of their four-month deployment.

As a Light Mechanised Infantry Battalion, the Foxhound will be the Welsh Guards primary means of transport in Kabul.

However, Wales’ Senior Infantry Regiment will also need to be able to move by air. In the clip below Guardsmen practice their air reaction force drills with a Puma.

Picture: Crown Copyright 2018

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