Friday, July 16, 2010

RAF officer teaches Afghan children rugby

In an effort to build relationships with the local community around Kandahar Airfield an RAF officer has been introducing Afghan children to rugby.

Group Captain Jonathan Derbyshire, with the assistance of Flight Lieutenant Richie Woods, a qualified referee, has introduced tag rugby to the local children from the villages near the airfield.

The sport has been added to the curriculum of a Saturday school held at the base for the children of stallholders who run a bazaar each weekend. See Related News to read more about the school.

Group Captain Jonathan Derbyshire coaches an Afghan schoolboy in rugby
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

Training takes place once formal lessons have been completed. The children have literally thrown themselves into the game and have quickly grasped the essentials under the eagle eyes of their RAF coaches who are both members of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club.

Group Captain Derbyshire commands the Force Protection Wing at Kandahar, made up of 600 multinational personnel. He said:

"I view this type of activity as integral to providing the force protection of Kandahar Airfield in order to enable air operations.

"Everything we undertake, from counter-surface to air fire patrols, through to humanitarian assistance, contributes to the comprehensive counter-insurgency we are conducting in the Ground Defence Area.

"And if we can bring some fun to people's lives in the process then all the better."

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