Wales

Royal Welsh troops return home from Afghan tour

Soldier in sentry post
Image caption B Company of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh have spent six months in Helmand province

Welsh soldiers who have spent the last six months on frontline operations in Afghanistan have returned home.

The 150 members of B Company of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh have been in Helmand province since July last year.

They were providing a "ground-holding" role near the regional capital of Lash Kah Gar for much of the time.

During the operations, four soldiers have been injured, however there have been no fatalities on this tour.

In previous tours in 2009, the battalion lost Lance Corporal Chris Harkett when he was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) as he provided covering fire on a Taliban stronghold near Musa Qala.

The 22-year-old from Pontardawe near Swansea was described as a soldier who displayed "bravery and selfless commitment" by his colleagues.

Private Richard Hunt, 21, from Abergavenny became the 200th British soldier to die in the Afghan conflict in August 2009 when his vehicle was hit by an explosive device.

A few weeks later, in September 2009, Private James Prosser was killed by an explosion.

'Integral part'

His company commander said the 21-year-old from Cwmbran, Torfaen, was "an astute and selfless soldier who always put his fellows ahead of himself".

However, the return of the 99 soldiers from B (Rorke's Drift) Company to Lucknow Barracks at Tidworth, Wiltshire, on Thursday marks the end of two years of operations for the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh.

In addition to the frontline duties in Helmand, since Christmas, B Company has been providing security for the rebuilding of the Highway 1 route, a road said to be vital to communications links across Afghanistan.

"It has proved fundamental in providing vital communications and in recent months has been significantly repaired and rejuvenated," said an Army spokesperson.

"B Company has played an integral part in providing security for the joint Afghan, UK and US project."

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