AN INTREPID Halesowen soldier has spoken of his pride of swapping cabinet making for a role in training Afghan forces before the British Army leave Afghanistan.

Corporal James Letts, aged 29, is an infanteer for the Mercian Regiment and is currently on his third tour of operations.

The former Leasowes High School pupil has been working with the Kandak Liaison Team (KLT) whose role is to provide support to the Afghan National Security Forces in Helmand Province - where the vast majority of British fatalities have occurred in the war.

He said: “I’m based in Forward Operating Base (FOB) Price but I spend a lot of time with the KLT visiting a number of Afghan bases around Helmand.

"We assist the Afghans with medical evacuation and air support during some of their operations.”

He added: “They’re a good bunch, and they’re always up for a football or volleyball match.

"The language barrier is a problem but we make use of the interpreters, and you pick up the odd word and phrases to help you get by.”

James joined the Army in 2006 having spent five years working as a cabinet maker before wanting new life experiences and a bit of stability.

He said: “This is my second tour in Afghanistan, having been here in 2011, and my third military tour, my first was in Iraq on Operation Telic nine in 2007.”

When James finishes his tour in June he will go back to Germany to help with the battalion disbandment and move back to the UK under the 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, Bulford.

All UK combat operations in Afghanistan to finish by the end of this year with responsibility transferred to Afghan forces.