To Helmand and back

Comics visit troops in Afghanistan

Five comics visited Afghanistan’s notorious Helmand Province last week to entertain around 2,000 troops.

Circuit stand-ups Jim Jeffries, Mark Walker, Phil Butler, Andy Askins and Iestyn Edwards, who performs in tutu as ballet dancing diva Madame Galina, staged four shows over four nights.

Two were in the vast Camp Bastion, the desert base at the centre of the fight against the Taliban in the southern Helmand province, the other two were in Kandahar.

Edwards, who has previously visited Iraq, too, said: ‘The troops out there are the dogs bollocks. They are unbelievably brave and I'm honoured to have been asked to entertain them.’

Butler added: ‘It was great to be given the chance to give the boys a bit of a morale boost especially as they are so starved of entertainment.’

A spokesman for Combined Services Entertainment, which organised the tour, said: ‘The comedians received a warm welcome from the troops, who haven't had any major entertainment since deploying there in September.’

In a bizarre footnote, the comics shared a plane back to Europe with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.

Jeffries even shared a cigarette with the leader before the flight, and reported back that he was ‘very nice’.

Published: 20 Dec 2006

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