As midnight struck to usher in the New Year in Afghanistan, British troops were continuing their work across Helmand province to stabilise the security situation and, ultimately, protect Britons back home from the threat of terrorism.
Whilst people celebrated the advent of 2011 in their millions across the UK, it was just another working day for thousands of British Service personnel deployed on the front line. Their work, focused on driving out insurgents, improving security and restoring government control in communities, as well as training up Afghan soldiers and policemen to take forward their work in the long term, did not stop.
As the hour of midnight passed, however, most got the opportunity to pause and wish each other a happy, successful and - above all - safe new year. For the majority of the troops, their part in the fight to protect Britain’s national security will continue until April, when their tours end and others deploy fill their shoes.
Pictured are a group of Edinburgh-based troops from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who wished each other a happy new year - and managed a brief rendition of Auld Lang Syne - in the back of their Jackal armoured vehicle. The lads organised a brief pause in their patrol, in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, in order to see in 2011 in the best way circumstances allowed.
Lieutenant Erik Smith, spokesman for The Royal Highland Fusiliers, said:
Hogmanay’s a great occasion for every Scotsman and we’d all be lying if we didn’t admit that part of us would have liked to have been back in the UK seeing in the new year with our families or pals. But we all know the importance of what we’re doing out here and the work can’t stop for holidays.
For the troops out here New Year is just another day, when the hard work of improving security and driving out the insurgency in our area continues.