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Sunday 25 February 2018

Insider attacks 'never eradicated'

Staff Sergeant Trevor Beck, 34, from Belfast, with members of the Afghan Police (Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)
Staff Sergeant Trevor Beck, 34, from Belfast, with members of the Afghan Police (Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

Insider attacks on British troops in Afghanistan can never be eradicated, a soldier who has spent months mentoring Afghan police chiefs has said.

But Staff Sergeant Trevor Beck, 34, who serves with the Royal Dragoon Guards, said troops could not let themselves become consumed by the fear of "green-on-blue" killings which claimed more than 60 lives last year.

The 34-year-old from Belfast, who is training police, said building a rapport and establishing trust were essential when dealing with the rising threat from Afghan forces on their international allies.

"It is always going to be there regardless," he said. "You are never going to eradicate it. If you were worried about it all the time you would not be able to concentrate on your job."

Staff Sergeant Beck is part of a unit tasked with training and mentoring members of the Afghan National Police in southern Helmand.

He has been living and working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) at a purpose-built police headquarters in the city of Lashkar Gah.

The heavily guarded base, in the heart of the provincial capital, is home to hundreds of Afghan police recruits, their trainers as well as some elements of the Afghan National Army, and is a prime target for Taliban insurgents. Despite the threat, soldiers do not wear body armour within the compound.

Staff Sergeant Beck added: "We have a side arm on us but, if we walked around with body armour on us constantly it is going to set a bad example to the guys who live here. They know about the green on blue and then they'll think we don't trust them. It is all to do with the trust and building that rapport.

"If you thought about it constantly you would never be able to do your job because you would always be looking over your shoulder and wondering whether the next person through the door was going to have a go at me.

"You just get on with it and you know with the atmospherics of the compound that we are in, it is always busy when you are walking from building to building and people are friendly, people talk to you - if that was to stop all of a sudden then your senses would start tingling."

Press Association

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