Bravery medal for Gurkha who fought Taliban

Media caption,
Acting Sergeant Dipprasad Pun received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, second only to the Victoria Cross

A Gurkha who fought off an attack by at least a dozen Taliban insurgents has been presented with the UK's second highest bravery medal by the Queen.

Cpl Dipprasad Pun, 31, of Ashford, Kent, said he was "very proud" after receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross at Buckingham Palace.

He said he thought he was going to die and so had nothing to lose when his checkpoint was ambushed in Afghanistan.

Out of bullets, he used the tripod of his gun to beat one militant away.

"I was sentry at night on the checkpoint and suddenly I noticed there were many Taliban surrounding that checkpoint in position to attack," he said after the ceremony.

"I opened fire on them and we fired at each other. There were many, I was alone."

He said at one point his weapon failed and he resorted to using his machine gun tripod to knock one insurgent off the roof of the compound.

'Nobody can kill us'

"I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I'd kill as many of them as I could before they killed me," he said.

"That incident happened in the middle of my tour and after that I thought nobody can kill us now - when we met the enemy, I wasn't scared.

"I thought the Taliban did not have the capacity to fight with us."

The Gurkha, who was an acting sergeant with the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles at the time, said he saw some Taliban trying to plant bombs beside the compound's gate.

He came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s for more than 15 minutes during the attack near Babaji in Helmand province last September.

In total he fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine.

Comrades saved

His gallantry award is second only to the Victoria Cross - the highest honour for bravery whilst facing the enemy.

After the ceremony, which recognised the bravery of several soldiers, guests queued up to shake Cpl Pun's hand.

The married soldier, whose father and grandfather were also Gurkhas, is originally from Bima in western Nepal.

His medal citation said he saved the lives of three comrades at the checkpoint and prevented the position being overrun.

"Pun could never know how many enemies were attempting to overcome his position, but he sought them out from all angles despite the danger, consistently moving towards them to reach the best position of attack," it read.

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