Belfast Telegraph

Soldier teaches Afghan general

A soldier based in Northern Ireland is teaching English to a top Afghan general.

Lieutenant Roz Ashworth, 30, from 2nd Battalion the Rifles Regiment, is based in Co Down's Ballykinler barracks but is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Lt Ashworth has been trained to speak the Afghan language of Dari and also teaches British soldiers the basics of the language to help them communicate with their Afghan partners and civilians during operations.

The education officer said: "At the moment most communication is done through a large number of interpreters. However, senior officers in the Afghan Brigade headquarters are very keen about learning English to strengthen relationships with their British partners.

"The general is very keen and incredibly dedicated to the job... He picks it up quickly and he is at the stage where he can easily hold conversations without an interpreter. He has got a good sense of humour as well, which helps the lessons."

Brigadier General Sheren Shah, the commander of 3rd Brigade of 215 Corps (3/215 Corps) of the Afghan National Army (ANA), spends around two hours a day using books to learn English.

The brigade is based at the ANA Camp Shorabak, which is next to the major British base Camp Bastion.

The commander speaks several languages, including Russian, Farsi, and the Afghan languages Pashtun and Dari. He is keen to learn English to bridge the communication gap with his British and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) colleagues.

2 Rifles are advising the general's ANA brigade on everything from planning major operations to logistics and supplies.

Brigadier General Shah said: "It's really important to have a command of English so that I can communicate with ISAF. My understanding of English is growing, but we are working hard on my writing. Of all the languages I have learned, English is the hardest."

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