AROUND 250 soldiers have left their Scottish base as they deploy to Afghanistan to help train the country’s army and assist the Nato peace-keeping mission.
The soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), said farewell to loved ones as they left Glencorse Barracks near Penicuik in Midlothian.
The eight-month tour is in support of Nato military personnel advising at Afghan security institutions including the Afghan National Army Officers’ Academy.
As part of the UK’s commitment to the peace-keeping mission, 2 SCOTS will also enhance Kabul’s security force and help provide security for British and Nato personnel in the capital.
They will play a role in the co-ordination and movement control of Nato forces around the Afghan capital.
The battalion has previously completed three combat tours in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Wearmouth, commanding officer of 2 SCOTS, said: “We’ll be in Kabul to provide an extra layer of protection and control for the wider Nato mission but our main responsibility will be to support the Afghan forces who lead on security in the area.
“This is a great opportunity for us, we’re a light role infantry battalion taking up a mechanised role with the use of the Foxhound vehicle.
“Many members of the battalion have previously deployed to Afghanistan in combat roles, this is a completely different mission for us and a lot of work has gone into training and preparing the soldiers for this deployment.”
Combat operations in Helmand Province ended in 2014.
The Army said the latest deployment is part of the UK’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan and to providing the country with the best training to allow the government of Afghanistan to police and defend itself.