Tons of sprouts keep troops fed festively during Afghan duty

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As the nation prepares for Christmas, frontline troops in Afghanistan will not miss out, with plans in place to mark the special day.

Personnel on the front line will get the chance to mark the festive season despite continuing with their jobs.

Each serviceman and woman will tuck into a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Troops will dine on 3.5 tonnes of turkey; 2.5 tonnes of potatoes; a tonne of Brussels sprouts, Christmas puddings, mints, and 18,000 mince pies.

In a time-honoured tradition, officers will serve their men and women on Christmas Day.

Garrison Sergeant Major Daz Edkins, 32, from the West Midlands, the most senior soldier at Camp Bastion, said everyone would also be getting on with their jobs. He added: “There’s no difference out here, if you were to come out here you’d see everyone doing the same as they are doing. The Taliban don’t stop doing what they are doing because it’s Christmas.”

Frontline troops have also been given extra time to talk to loved ones over the festive period, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

They have also got an extra 30 minutes of “talk time” from the MoD and an extra 45 minutes from communications provider Paradigm.

Troops are allowed 30 minutes of phone calls home each week.

As Christmas needs a pantomime, soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment will put on a show for fellow troops.

The regiment is serving in the northern district of Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand Province, working with the Afghan police to boost security.

Company Sergeant Major Carl Brookes is playing the Virgin Mary while colleague Major James Kennedy is dressing up to play Joseph.

Maj Kennedy said: “I’m planning to rotate all 200 men through the patrol base to see the panto over Christmas but at the same time maintain our efforts at tackling the insurgency and developing and mentoring the Afghan security forces.”