In Lashkar Gah we are fully entering into the spirit of the Olympic games

Comment

Those of us serving in Helmand Province are intent on enjoying the Olympic Games despite being far away from London. All of the soldiers I have spoken with are looking forward to The Olympics, the headquarters is awash with patriotic Union Flag bunting and there are plenty who will stay up past midnight to watch the spectacular of the opening ceremony.

It’s not just the British troops who are looking forward to London 2012, many of the Afghans I deal with on a daily basis have talked about their excitement for the forthcoming games. The six athletes who are representing Afghanistan are a real source of national pride and they are particularly hopeful for Rohullah Nikpai, the taekwando fighter who won Afghanistan’s first Olympic medal at the Beijing games.

There is a strong sporting heritage in Afghanistan, the regular British defeat on the Lashkar Gah volleyball court at the hands of Afghan Army and Police teams serves as a reminder of their athletic prowess. Despite years under the ultra-conservative Taliban who violently repressed public sporting events, as security across the province improves we are seeing more and more sporting fixtures of all types pop up around Helmand.

Recently a wrestling match took place in Nahr-e Saraj which attracted over four hundred people from all over the district. It is important to note that these people felt safe enough to travel long distances, some had travelled from as far afield as Sangin, to an event that would have been strictly forbidden by the previous regime. This speaks volumes of the confidence that Afghans now place in the security in the area; the fact that the Afghan police were solely responsible for safety at the event is a clear demonstration of the success of the ISAF training mission.

Here in Lashkar Gah we are fully entering into the spirit of the games but we remain focussed on the task at hand. Along with our Afghan partners in the police and the Army we are planning to conduct our own “Helmand Olympics” at the Lashkar Gah stadium later this year. I am optimistic that this will bring all involved closer together and be a great way to build stronger relationships between ISAF and the local Afghans. I am however, less confident in a Task Force Helmand victory in the wrestling.

On behalf of all of all the British troops serving in Helmand I would like to wish the best of British to all the athletes in team GB; Good Luck!

Brigadier Doug Chalmers, Commander Task Force Helmand

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering