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During our patrol, the feeling at the bazaar seemed very positive. Grateful villagers welcomed the troops and were happy to stop and say how safe they felt now that the Taliban had been driven away and were no longer stealing their food and money, or intimidating their children.

The critical question of how successful that effort will be, and how ready the Afghan forces are to fend for themselves, is a difficult one to answer.

But some of the Afghan officers, although determined, seem reluctant to share their optimism.

"I think their success will depend on the competency of the insurgency, which is what we are trying to reduce now. It takes a while to explain that we're not just here to fight the Taliban, we are here to support the Afghan government to build a better future for all of us.

Lt Jamie Harle of the Light Dragoons, who is leading on of his regiment's Police Advisory Teams (PATs). Pic by Sgt Andy Reddy / MOD

secure area, the Vikings are bolstering the ANSF presence before pulling out of patrol bases and handing security responsibility over to local agencies including ANCOP, whose charismatic local commander, Major Naziz Ghoul, joined us on patrol and later told us his concerns over a cup of "chai" and some traditional Afghan flatbread.

"They have got work to do but I think it will be achieved. I think you may see a backward step, but the future is still going to be a place which the Taliban cannot come Palladium Chukka Boots

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back to."

His platoon was mentoring its ANCOP counterparts on a reassurance patrol near Kalang in Nad e Ali, an area hailed as a beacon of progress for the rest of Helmand province.

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The Afghan National Army (ANA), the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP), and the Afghan Local Police (ALP), among many other agencies, must all work seamlessly together if the scheduled British withdrawal of troops by the end of 2014 is to leave this country with any hope of a lasting peace.

"I am confident in them. They have benefited from years of high investment and you can see it not just in their equipment but in the way they think and act. All these things lead to a professional force. We don't want to build them in our own model, they have got to do it in the Afghan way and we have to steer them towards it so there's not a culture of impunity."

On the first occasion I saw this sensitive minefield of issues being negotiated, the discussions were being adeptly handled by 23 year old Lt Adam Peters, from Needham Market in Suffolk the Vikings' youngest officer who explained that the region's security could only last if it was led by the Afghans themselves.

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Even leaving aside the last bitter decade of war, Afghanistan is a hugely complex country.

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In Palladium Boots Women Outfit the "transition" lands of Nad e Ali, patrols are planned and led by Afghan police forces, to offer a reassuring presence and keep an ear to the ground for any change in the "atmospherics" at the villages and bazaars.

The overbearing worry is how these capable and patriotic warriors will fare without the "safety net" offered by the presence of the combined military superpower currently at their shoulder.

Several East Anglian officers I spoke to likened their situation to that of a protective parent, who sees the growing independence of their offspring and realises it is time to take off the stabilisers and give them a gentle push.

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Those concerns were later echoed by ANA officer Capt Immanjan, who said his determined and patriotic warriors were worried about what could happen when they lost the ability to call on ISAF helicopters and armoured vehicles.

Commanders from our region are supremely confident in the abilities of the combined Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure their communities and prevent insurgents seeping back into society.

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"It is down to the hard work of ISAF and ANA that this place is safe," he told us. "Three years ago, the company was not able to do any operations, but now we feel confident. When ISAF leave I don't think we will be able to do many activities like that."

Through an interpreter, he said: "We are not scared, but ISAF (the International Security and Assistance Force) have paved the way for us to make us strong. Everything we want to do, we want to do in cooperation with ISAF and the air force is a big help for us. Without them, it could collapse.

"While you are here, we don't have any big problem. But when you leave here, we have to think about that time."

To make that happen requires skill, diplomacy and military acumen qualities deployed in abundance by training and advisory teams from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as the Vikings, and the Light Dragoons, based in Swanton Morley, near Dereham.

Local recruits being trained for duty in the Afghan Local Police, using wooden rifles. Pic by Chris Hill

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"Ten years ago we had a dictator system. They didn't have human rights and we didn't have well trained forces. But now we have everything we want. We have freedom.

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is the local forces who have suppressed the summer fighting season. It is their fight, and they are the ones who should take credit for it.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment on patrol in Nad e Ali. Sgt Scott Thomas talks to an ANA warrior. Pic by Chris Hill

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While ANCOP and the ANA have the ability to mount military patrols and operations, one of the key organisations being developed is the Afghan Local Police (ALP), a part time force of villagers working within their own communities, not unlike PCSOs in Britain.

"Now, massive progress is being achieved and the ALP and ANCOP in my area are very good. We think they're brilliant.

Royal Anglians and Light Dragoons prepare for Afghanistan's end

Its rich ethnic patchwork of religious cultures and tribal loyalties is mirrored in the diverse array of security forces which are now being trained by East Anglian soldiers to take responsibility for protecting, and uniting, this fractured state.

Lt Peters said: "This is the trial for the whole British part of Helmand. In Herrick 11 (2009/10) this was the worst place in Afghanistan, and it stayed like that for some time afterwards. We would walk out the gate and be in a gunfight all day. There were lots of casualties from IEDs and small arms fire. It was the Taliban's centre of control.

Lt Col Mick Aston, the Vikings' commanding officer, said: "We are still a large part of the security picture here, and because of that, the locals probably attribute more of the security success to us than is actually the case. We don't want the local nationals to think their security has been provided purely by ISAF. We want them to see it Prada Mens Footwear Sale

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