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Blandford soldier speaks of work as mentor to Afghan Army
11:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in News
A DORSET soldier has spoken of her work as a mentor to the fledgling Afghan Army.
Major Claire Brown, 35, from Blandford, is currently working at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
The officer is partway through a nine-month tour working as a female company commander’s mentor in the newly opened Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy in Qargha, Western Kabul.
She has previously completed tours in Bosnia, Iraq, and Northern Ireland, and this is her third tour of Afghanistan and her second in the country’s capital, Kabul.
Major Brown said that this tour is a completely different experience to the previous one, when she was based in Helmand Province.
Prior to her last tour in Afghanistan she learnt to speak Dari fluently and has been putting her language skills to the test.
Afghans generally tend to speak more Pashto in Helmand and Claire finds it easier to understand the locals in Kabul who speak mainly Dari.
She said: “I enjoy meeting people and having conversations with them.
“It’s so rewarding being able to understand what they are saying and to keep the conversation going.”
As part of her role Maj Brown is helping to find and appoint new female staff to the Officer Academy.
She said she has enjoyed finding out about their lives within the military, and making comparisons.
Maj Brown said: “It’s really great seeing the Afghans all fired up and wanting this to be a success.”
Born in Aldershot, Maj Brown’s family moved around a ‘fair bit’ during her childhood as her father, Lt Col Christopher Brown, REME was also in the army.
Originally planning to follow a career in medicine she decided it wasn’t what she wanted to do and chose to follow her father’s footsteps.
She said: “I wanted a lifestyle and a job that didn’t have me stapled to a desk all day long. I wanted a job where I could work with people with similar motivations.”
Outside of the military, Maj Brown enjoys playing hockey for the army hockey team REME. She has played in South Africa, Barbados, and is off to Australia next year.
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