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"It Is In Your Hands"

As the mist cleared, and morning sun trickled then flooded into the morning, I read in the TELEGRAPH > that Gurkhas had saved the day in Afghanistan when Taliban forces attacked British troops in Helmand. The story casts considerable light on events, and on the bravery of the British Army’s 1st and 2nd Gurkha Rifles.

My limited understanding of Gurkha history is that in the 8th century, led by their prince, and inspired by their warrior saint Guru Gorkhanath, the Gurkhas stopped an invasion of violent Islamists in Afghanistan, then called Ghandhar, a Buddhist/Hindu kingdom.

In succeeding centuries the Gurkhas founded the Kingdom of Nepal. In the early 19th century, they waged war against the British East India Company. They were defeated, but they so impressed their British opponents they were invited to join the British Indian Army as officers and soldiers. Since then Gurkhas have fought around the world, and have been called “the bravest of the brave” by their Brit brothers.

Recently, at a key strategic post in southern Helmand, the Gurkhas endured “28 attacks lasting one to six hours each”. Many of them had never experienced combat before, but they rose to the occasion with courage and resilience in the face of rocket-propelled grenades, tunneling, snipers, and “five full scale efforts by hundreds of Taliban fighters to over-run their compound.”

The Taliban assault failed with over 100 killed, and only three men in the Gurkha Rifles injured. According to the TELEGRAPH, their Major then used the Afghan police radio to send a message to the Taliban:

"I said 'you have two paths here. If the attacks continue you will suffer. We are being restrained. We take no pleasure in this. We are here to help you if you want a better life. It is in your hands.' "