Politician fights for Afghan democracy

AN Ipswich politician who is fighting on the frontline in Afghanistan today told of the attacks he faced during the recent violent elections.

AN Ipswich politician who is fighting on the frontline in Afghanistan today told of the attacks he faced during the recent violent elections.

Alasdair Ross, a sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, said he was confident that the army's presence in the war-torn country has helped people, many of whom were able to vote despite the violence.

Mr Ross, a councillor for the Rushmere ward, was called out of army retirement after seven years to put his intelligence and reconnaissance skills to good use.

Despite reports of widespread violence occurring on the polling day, Mr Ross said none of the stations in Sangin, where he was based, were attacked.


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He said: “The election passed off with the residents of Sangin able to vote. All four polling stations in the town stayed open and none were attacked.

“The vote was not as high as we hoped but the hundreds who did vote showed that even with Taliban intimidation, they were willing to vote.

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“The election day was hard work and we were attacked most of the day but we kept the Taliban away from the Sangin district centre and Afghans did vote.”

It has emerged that the polling day was the most violent during the conflict with 400 attacks across the country, including one which killed two British soldiers.

Since Mr Ross arrived in Afghanistan earlier this year, the country has seen some of the bloodiest battles in the conflict so far.

In July his regiment lost five troops in two separate blasts on the same patrol near Sangin.

Mr Ross is due to come home for a break for ten days within the next week before heading back out to Afghanistan until the end of the tour on October 20. He is due to return to Ipswich for good on November 6.

Do you have a loved one who is in Afghanistan at the moment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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