1 Royal Gurkha Rifles Operation TORAL Blog

This page of our website will be used to keep you up to speed with the activities of the deployed element of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles who are currently in Afghanistan on Operation TORAL.

Operation TORAL is the codename for the British Army’s deployment to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to develop the military capability of the Afghanistan government’s Armed forces

New Kabul Compound Volleyball Competition

In the high-paced operational environment of Operation TORAL 7 in Kabul, it is important to have team cohesion to build trust and relationships. To that end, and when not on patrol, the teams based at the New Kabul Compound (NKC) have been making the most of the volleyball court during their down-time.

On 1st February 2019, Corporal Mohan of the Police Liaison Detachment (PLD) organised a volleyball competition, to see which team could be crowned the best of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles eight NKC-based callsigns. Indeed, B (Sari Bair) Company (Coy) Headquarters (HQ) was sure not  to miss out on the action, and saw Company Quartermaster Sergeant, Colour Sergeant (CSgt) Bharat emerging from the stores for some ground-shaking spikes.

The competition was fierce and closely fought matches drew crowds of American, Mongolian, Danish and Polish soldiers, as well as myriad contractors and Afghans. Rifleman (Rfn) Padam was a key attraction from the K32 team, occupying the centre zone with dominance and securing many points with aggressive smashes.

The final saw the PLD and K33 go head-to-head for a chance to take home the miniature T-wall trophies. It was neck and neck until the last few points of the last set and both teams were tenacious in their plays. CSgt Bhim, of K33, harassed the PLD blockers with sneaky, well-placed drop shots but the PLD were able to clinch the victory at the very end.

At the prize-giving, Rfn Mesh Bahadur Saru Magar (Captain of the PLD team) was awarded best player of the competition and commended for his resolve and contribution to team spirit. Officer Commanding and Second in Command B (Sari Bair) Coy shared some inspirational words, congratulating all participants for their competitiveness before resetting the focus back to the task at hand on Operation TORAL. 

The Police Liaison Detachment (PLD)

During Operation TORAL 7, C (Mogaung) Company detached a single multiple to be based out of New Kabul Compound (NKC) with B (Sari Bair) Company – The PLD. The Commanding Officer 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) was especially keen to deploy the capability and see Gurkhas on the streets of Kabul, liaising with Afghan Police across the city.

The PLD work under The Green Forces Fusion Cell to fulfil two functions, protect the Senior Police Advisor and coordinate intelligence for the Kabul Protection Unit intelligence cell. Specifically, the PLD was asked to generate an on-the-ground understanding of different areas in Kabul.

In gaining that understanding, the PLD was engaged in aviation recces in Puma helicopters and daily Foxhound journeys across the city. For newly qualified Category C drivers, such as Rifleman (Rfn) Tara Bahadur Jhendi, Rfn Ashim Gurung and Rfn Bishwa Pratap Limbu, they got the opportunity to drive a £1million, seven-tonne armoured vehicle as their first car and have each accrued well over 2000km of driving experience during the tour.

Moving in a three-Foxhound multiple vehicle set-up, the PLD visited each of Kabul’s 23 Police Districts, occasionally up to 30km from base and with the support from additional assets as required. A particular highlight were the tasks to Paghman, at an elevation of 2300m, where the multiple caught breath-taking views of the snow-clad Hindu Kush surrounding Kabul below and a frozen Lake Qargha.

On task, the PLD liaised with Afghan police in a range of different settings from lavish, wood-panelled Colonels’ offices in district headquarters to broken, plastic garden tables surrounded by a single ring of concertina wire just off the Jalalabad Highway. The engagement between Afghan policemen and Gurkha soldiers was natural, facilitated by exchange of favourite Bollywood song couplets and countless cups of green tea. Certain soldiers with more proficient Urdu, such as Rfn Junkumar Pun and Rfn Amar Thapa, were able to share useful information for mutual operational benefit.

When not on tasks, the soldiers of the PLD prepared a number of messing events, highlighted by the distribution of gifts on Christmas Day around the fire by our very own Rfn (Ba) Santa ‘Claus’ Rai. The PLD is still in the process of vindicating its volleyball reputation, having suffered a sore defeat at the hands of the Afghan policemen of Chahar Asyab District, but aspirations are high for the upcoming Company Volleyball Competition at NKC led by Corporal Mohan.

On the streets of Kabul with the Gurkhas

Operation TORAL – Response to the Camp Anjuman

Attack November 2018
By Corporal Ajaya Ram Gurung, 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles

In mid-November 2018, B Company, 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, took over the roles and responsibilities of the Kabul Protection Unit after deploying to New Kabul Compound (NKC), Afghanistan. We are part of Operation TORAL 7 and took over from the Welsh Guards. Since taking on the role, the Company has been undertaking the Advisor Force Protection (AFP) tasks around Kabul city as well as providing Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and Guardian Angels tasking’s here in NKC.

On the 28th November 2018, at around 1830hrs, Camp Anjuman (a G4S base in Kabul) was attacked by a large group of insurgents. The assault consisted of a large Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device followed up by a small arms attack by a number of insurgents. The camp housed a lot of Nepalese ex-servicemen, with a number of other multinational citizens. They were mainly working as G4S security personnel for the British Embassy and other places in and around Kabul city.

As the incident took place the two QRF multiple of B Company were placed on high alert, ready to to support the Afghan security forces. We, K38, were lined up to support the aftermath. After a quick set of orders from the QRF commander to forward mount to Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) nearer to the incident. Afghan security forces were dealing with the immediate event and we were to be responsible for casualty and personnel extraction. The Airport based unit helped with the immediate casualty recovery to the role two medical facility within the airport. We were on readiness for some time before we received final orders to move to the scene and set up an Incident Control Point. The difficulty was that a thick layer of fog/smog had covered the city and driving visibility was down to a few feet. However we managed to find a route through the fog and start the evacuation.

When we returned back to base and conducted the post patrol action review we had mixed emotions. Although the incident had been stressful and unpleasant to see so many shocked and injured individuals, we were also very happy and proud to have been able to help.

Up in the mountains around Kabul

Base Defence Operations Centre

The Base Defence Operations Centre (BDOC) provides base force protection to the New Kabul Compound.

The BDOC is made up of troops from 1RGR, Third Battalion The Parachute Regiment and the Guards Parachute Platoon, The Royal Anglian Regiment, the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force, the Afghan Public Protection Force and the US Base Security Group.

Christmas message from Kabul

Gurkha win table tennis competition in Afghanistan

Well done. Rifleman Samir Thapa who won an International Table Tennis Competition run during Operation TORAL this week in Afghanistan, where 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles are currently serving.
 
Rifleman Samir Thapa – who has competed in the Army Table Tennis Championships before had to win over some stiff competition but in good Gurkha style achieved the aim..
 
Competitive sport is an important part of life in the Gurkhas and wider Army and there are many opportunities for our soldiers to develop skills which in turn can help them on the battlefield.

Gurkhas build a Temple in Kabul.

The 1 RGR Battlegroup has opened a temple in the New Kabul Compound. The first service was held last Sunday.

Spiritual practice is an important part of our kaida (tradition) and supports the moral component of fighting power. The Temple gives people of all creeds a place to bond and prepare to face the reality of operations.

The Temple is open to all for reflection, worship, or socialising and will hold regular services. It is decorated with pictures of deities (including Goddess Durga and Lord Budha) and is equipped for prayer, Tika and even Yoga.

1 Royal Gurkha Rifles delivering Force Protection

Part of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles is in Afghanistan serving as lead unit in the Kabul Security Force, providing force protection to NATO’s Train, Advise, Assist mission. 

Members of C (Mogaung) Company Group have been patrolling in and around Kabul.

Transfer of Authority

The Transfer of Authority for the Kabul Protection Unit between First Battalion The Welsh Guards and First Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles was marked at the New Kabul Compound by a short flag raising ceremony.

The ceremony marks the formal beginning of Op TORAL 7 which will see 1RGR’s battlegroup (including elements of the Third Battalion The Parachute Regiment and First Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment) responsible for providing force protection for UK and coalition advisors who are working with our Afghan partners to increase capabilities and capacity across the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.

Regimental Sergeant Major The First Battalion The Welsh Guards and Regimental Sergeant Major The First Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles exchange plaques to mark the occasion of the Transfer of Authority for the Kabul Protection Unit.