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Sappers repair key Afghan bridge
SAPPERS from 22 Engineer Regiment have repaired a key bridge in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand Province.
The regiment, which is normally based at Swinton Barracks, Perham Down, provides engineer close support to 1 Mechanised Brigade.
Basharan Bridge, which was built in 2010, crosses the Char Anjir Wadi, linking local communities in the Basharan and Babaji areas.
The bridge allows farmers from Babaji to move their produce to markets in Lashkar Gah, and makes moving between the economic hubs of Lashkar Gah and Gereshk more efficient.
It also makes it easier for children to attend school in Basharan.
The bridge had been damaged by an improvised explosive device laid by insurgents earlier this year.
The sappers, from 5 Squadron, mounted a two-day operation to fix the bridge permanently so it can remain in place, replacing damaged parts in the soaring Afghan heat.
Captain George Andrews, 27, of 22 Regiment, said: “My troop worked hard on the task despite the heat, and we could all see what it meant to the local people as a small crowd had gathered by the time we had done.”
Security for Lashkar Gah District has been provided by the local Afghan police since transitioning from UK forces in 2011.
Lance Corporal Nick Stearn of Tidworth-based 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, which was posted to the area in 2011, said: “On my last tour we were constantly engaged in fire fights around the area, and the district centre was usually deserted. Now it feels secure and the streets are busy, with markets flourishing.”
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