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AFGHAN 'PARA' Brit soldiers' tribute to local hero who kept fighting Taliban after being shot.

Byline: CHRIS HUGHES

A TOUGH Afghan soldier has been dubbed an "honorary Para" for fighting on through a Taliban ambush despite being shot by a sniper.

Sgt Rasoul Bamyani, 45, and his soldiers were patrolling alongside 2 Para troops when insurgents launched a vicious ambush.

As the British-Afghan National Army force counter attacked through a hail of gunfire, a high-power sniper round slammed into Sgt Bamyani's back from behind.

The bullet was stopped by his body armour but the force of the impact smashing into his spine hurled Sgt Bamyani to the ground in agony.

As his comrades, fearing the worst, screamed for a medic, Sgt Bamyani grabbed his rifle and carried on fighting. With his help, the Taliban were eventually driven off. The former mujahedeen warrior - who fought the Soviets in the 80s - shrugged off his actions yesterday, saying: "I have no fear of the Taliban.

"When I fought the Red Army, I only had one magazine and a rifle and we defeated them.

"With the equipment we now have, like the body armour that saved my life, we cannot fail to crush the Taliban." The Parachute Regiment's Lt Jonny Mortimer-Hendry, 23 - with him during the attack in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand - said: "Some would say he is an honorary Para! He certainly displayed the courage of one."

Sgt Bamyani has been trained with his battalion by 2 Para and top brass hope UK forces will gradually be able to withdraw from the front line by 2015.

CAPTION(S):

COMRADES Afghan National Army Sgt Bamyani with some of the Paras BRAVE Sgt Bamyani with hole in body armour and bruised back
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2011
Words:270
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