THREE Colchester paratroopers have been awarded for their bravery during evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

The trio were undertaking Operation Pitting which was designed to get British nationals and eligible Afghans out of Kabul last summer as the country was seized by the Taliban.

The soldiers, Private Ahmad Fahim, Corporal Daniel Hoyland and Corporal Jamie Found, were all cited for their roles in the Evacuee Handling Centre at Kabul airport.

During their desperate but co-ordinated efforts, thousands of people were desperately trying to flee Afghanistan while a suicide bomb detonated, killing dozens including US troops.

Gazette: Brave - Private Ahmad FahimBrave - Private Ahmad Fahim

Pte Fahim, 36, who was born in Afghanistan got a Mention in Despatches (MiD) as the battlegroup’s interpreter.

A report stated he “showed outstanding bravery and selfless commitment during Op Pitting”.

Without his critical intervention, the clearing of a route between the Evacuee Handling Centre and the airport would not have been possible in the early days of the evacuation, the report read.

Pte Fahim, whose parents and siblings fled the Taliban last August, said: “When you’re in there, you really know the desperation those people were having.

Gazette: Proud - Corporal Daniel HoylandProud - Corporal Daniel Hoyland

“I was just imagining my sister and mother being in the crowd.”

Also receiving an MiD was Corporal Daniel Hoyland, who was one of the first to respond to the suicide attack.

He said: “When the IED went off, my section were the closest to it out of the British Forces. I was about 60 metres away - I got a burst eardrum.

“There were a lot of casualties, and I was dealing with the crowd and trying to save as many people as possible. That’s the things I will remember forever.”Gazette: Honour - Corporal Jamie FoundHonour - Corporal Jamie Found

Meanwhile fellow Corporal Jamie Found is awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for his brave work preventing people from being crushed as they surged towards the centre.

Corp Found, 32, was awarded for leading his team into the crowd, pushing them back and forming a protective barrier to hold the baseline.

He said: “I feel honoured. To be honest, I feel that everyone did such a good job that you can’t really separate what I did from everyone else I worked alongside.”