South Yorkshire soldiers train Afghan police

Cpl Liam Keen, left, Trooper Anthony Differ, right, left is  Trooper Liam Brook.'They are training recruits to join the Afghan police force.
Cpl Liam Keen, left, Trooper Anthony Differ, right, left is Trooper Liam Brook.'They are training recruits to join the Afghan police force.
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MEET the South Yorkshire soldiers running a police academy – Afghanistan style.

Local lads in the Light Dragoons are taking a break from their usual duties on reconnaissance missions against the Taliban.

Instead, Lance Corporal Liam Keen, aged 21, from Goldthorpe, and Troopers Anthony Differ, 31, from Cudworth, Barnsley, and Liam Brook, 21, from Sprotbrough, Doncaster, are helping to run the Police Advisory Team for Helmand.

Their job is to teach up to 40 recruits at a time the skills to join the Afghan police force.

Boosting the force’s capacity is essential if Afghans are going to take over their own security in 2014, when international troops leave.

Tpr Differ is working with soldiers from the Light Dragoons to provide lessons at the training centre in the regional capital, Lashkar Gah.

He said: “We’ve been giving the Afghans a mixture of classroom lessons, skills such as rifle drills and teaching them how to detect for improvised explosive devices.

“The Afghans are now wanting to take over the lessons for themselves so our work is more of monitoring what’s going on in terms of the classroom side of things.”

Father-of-five Tpr Differ, married to Louise, 29, from Cudworth, has been training police for four months.

Meanwhile, LCpl Keen and Tpr Brook are working with newly-qualified police officers.

LCpl Keen said: “When I was here on my last tour, there weren’t many local police around and they didn’t look very professional.

“Since then, they have established their own chain of command and are willing to work hard, going on patrols and even searching compounds.

“I have taken them on patrols four or five times.”

Tpr Brook, married to Emily, from Sprotbrough, said: “The aim is to make sure the police continue following the skills we have provided them with.”