A father from Wotton-under-Edge has been doing his bit to help stabilise war-torn Afghanistan.
Iain King, who comes from Charfield and went to Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School between 1982 and 1989, works as a stabilisation officer and has recently been based in Helmand Province.
He works in HMG’s Stabilisation Unit, which provides specialist assistance to countries emerging from violent conflict.
The job involves working alongside the UK military to bring development and governance in remote parts.
He has recently been mentoring Afghani District Governors, helping them govern their districts.
“It is just like our district councils in this country,” said the Oxford graduate, whose parents live in Oldcroft, near Yorkley.
“I work with the political leader to form the councils which will hopefully restore some kind of normality to their political structure.”
This is not the 39 year-old’s first assignment of its kind. After graduating in 1993 after studying politics, philosophy and economics, Iain was assigned to Northern Ireland.
“It was absolutely fascinating,” he said. “I learned a lot from my time there and have taken the knowledge with me on other assignments.”
He finished his recent assignment in Helmand in November last year, after beginning the project in January.
One thing in particular struck a chord with him during his time overseas. “I realised how good our soldiers are,” said the father-of-two.
“I go into these scenarios with a civilian mindset so I get to see things differently, but it is clear that our boys are just superb.
“I know that some people are calling for us to pull out of Afghanistan, but we have to make Afghanistan safe before we can make the UK safe.”
He has also experienced the reality of war first hand.
He said: “I remember on one occasion when the location we were in was under attack from the Taliban. There were bullets flying just metres above my head but the soldiers were great.
“Some of them were in flip-flops and shorts, but they were straight on with the body armour and helping everyone, they really are top class.”