G4S employees receive honours for gallantry
Former Gurkha Deepak Kumar Thapa (pictured above right) was presented by Britain’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Richard Stagg (pictured above centre), with a Queen’s Gallantry Medal – one of the UK’s highest awards for bravery. Close Protection Officer Hameed Choudhry (pictured above left) also received a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery (QCB) for his actions during the attack, which equates to a Mention in Dispatches.
The two men, working for G4S as part of a contract with the British Government, received the prestigious awards at a ceremony in Afghanistan in recognition of their actions to save the lives of two British Council employees during a siege on the compound.
The citation for the awards said: “It is beyond question that the actions of all the Gurkha guards greatly assisted in saving the lives of the British Council staff. They all remained at their posts, despite several of them being wounded. Their bravery and swift action bought critical time for others to find sanctuary”.
G4S Risk Management Director of Government Services, David de Stacpoole, said:
“This was a vicious attack which claimed the lives of many Afghan civilians, three G4S colleagues and that of a soldier from New Zealand’s Special Forces.
“While our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who lost their lives, I am proud that the work of ex-military security staff has been recognised. Without their bravery and professionalism, it is likely that the toll of the attack would have been higher.
“These accolades underline the vital role that former soldiers play in places which have recently come through conflicts to support governments and non-governmental organisations deliver greater safety, security and development. We will continue to work alongside other agencies so that the skills and experience of former soldiers can be brought to bear in these challenging environments.”
Deepak Kumar Thapa said:
“I am just so happy and feeling proud and would like to thank everyone.”
Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Sir Richard Stagg, said:
“These awards are exceptionally well deserved. The five men all showed remarkable courage and commitment in a very difficult and dangerous situation.
“Thanks to their heroism, British Council staff had time to find sanctuary. This undoubtedly helped to save their lives. We all in the British Embassy community in Kabul owe the five, and those who tragically gave their lives or were wounded in the course of their duties, a debt of gratitude.”
Three other former Gurkhas working for G4S, Janga Bahadur Gurung, Jeetman Sharu Magar and Shyam Kumar Limbu, will receive their awards later this year at a ceremony in Kathmandu.