A South East Cornwall man who helped in the rebuilding of Afghanistan said he has high hopes for the future of the troubled country.
Adam Farley was speaking as he met Prince William at the unveiling of the country’s new memorial to the fallen of the Afghanistan, Iraq and Gulf conflicts between 1990 and 2015.
Adam, a former Plymouth College pupil who comes from Millbrook, worked for the UK Government’s Department for International Development. His mother served in the Signals Regiment.
From 2013 to 2014 Adam oversaw programmes that gave Afghans better access to power, safer and more modern roads and freight railway to help increase trade with its regional partners.
Adam speaks passionately about the hope he saw in country for Afghanistan’s future.
He was struck by ‘how normal the individuals were: ‘They all wanted to go to university, they wanted to go on holiday, wanted a good job, just like any other teenager the world over.’
After the memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens was unveiled by the Queen, Adam said: ‘I wanted to come today and pay my respects.
‘I am pleased that both civilians and members of the military are acknowledged with this memorial.
‘We often, quite rightly, commemorate the military for their brave and selfless acts, but this has been a real team effort and recognising the joined-up endeavour is right and proper.
‘None of us had to go to Afghanistan, we choose to because we wanted to make a difference in our own way.’
Adam worked with military engineers in Helmand who worked on local infrastructure projects.
Why did he think the work was important? ‘When you go home you can flick a switch and get power, you can turn on a tap and get water, you can drive to school and it’s easy, and when you get there you’re taught and you learn.
‘You’ve got a doctor round the corner and you’ve got a choice of restaurants, supermarkets and shops.
‘It’s just not the case for thousands of people in Afghanistan.
‘The projects delivered by DFID helped to connect more villages and towns, which meant more people could reach services they desperately needed and that we take for granted in the UK.’
When Adam told his mum he was going to Afghanistan: ‘I thought she’d be fine because she’d been in the military but apparently she put the phone down after I told her and burst into tears.
‘Life in Afghanistan was hard but at the time seems perfectly normal.
‘You get used to mortar attacks, hearing gun fire and being away from your family.
‘It’s only when you come home you realise how unusual that situation is. It makes you feel very mortal.’