Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Soldiers unite to remember comrades

British and Afghan troops standing side by side at Camp Shorabak, Helmand Province

Afghan and British troops have stood side by side to mark Remembrance together for the first time in a special parade in Helmand Province.

The joint parade was held at Camp Shorabak, the Afghan National Army (ANA) base next to Camp Bastion.

ANA soldiers and troops from the Brigade Advisory Group (BAG), which works to train, mentor and advise Afghan forces, joined for the ceremony led by a Padre alongside an Afghan Mullah.

Speeches were given by Brigadier Patrick Sanders, Brigade Commander of 20 Brigade, and General Sheren Shah, Brigade Commander of the ANA's 3/215 Brigade. Each was translated into English or Dari.

"This is the first time there's been a joint ANA and ISAF Remembrance service and it's quite poignant since it's the 10th anniversary," said Lieutenant Roz Ashworth, 30, from Rochdale, Manchester, from 2nd Battalion the Rifles.

"It represents exactly where we are now in the transition which is that we work, play and rest together.

"It's only right that we share Remembrance together. The two religions and cultures can come together and unite to remember fallen comrades."

She said ANA troops were enthusiastic about attending the parade: "It was completely voluntary - we were expecting about 50 people, but there's about 500 here.

"Hopefully it will be something we do every year in the future."

The service also included a roll of honour for those who had died in the past 12 months - 41 ISAF troops, 22 ANA, and 10 interpreters.