Royal Navy diver helps train up Afghan soldiers

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A BOMB disposal expert who has recently returned from Afghanistan has been awarded a commendation for his work with the Afghan National Army.

Leading Seaman (Diver) Martin Platts, 34, was one of only 50 to be given the accolade across Task Force Helmand for outstanding achievement during operation Herrick.

The Royal Navy diver from Southsea spent the first half of his six-month tour of duty teaching an ANA bomb disposal operator how to neutralise roadside bombs.

He cleared bombs for patrolling ISAF forces in Khar Nikah during a busy spell of insurgent activity.

The father-of-four said: ‘I’m glad to have been involved in the training and mentoring programme and proud to have been picked for this award.

‘During the last operation, I was involved in I bumped into the ANA operator we had been training earlier in the deployment and he told me he had cleared 130 IEDs without any incident since I last saw him and thanked me for the training.

‘That was a good feeling.
‘The desert isn’t the most natural environment for divers so there was intensive training provided by the Royal Marines to enable us to deploy with professional soldiers.

‘Mentoring was interesting. I worked with members of the ANA much more closely than some of my peers and learnt a lot about the Afghan people and what they would like to see in the longer term.’