The Royal Irish regiment has commenced a very dangerous tour of duty in Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan.

For the next six months the regiment will be to the forefront in the battle for the province which has been raging for over a year now.

Commanding officer Lt Col Colin Weir described much of the area as "contested space."

Col Weir stated his troops were coping well: "The further forward the boys are, and the more robust the conditions are, the better morale is."

Col Weir stated: "Where the security bubble is strong, the people are very happy and very keen to engage with us.

"Whenever we clear the Taliban from an area, the people come on-side very quickly."