Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave for UK


he Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left for the United Kingdom on Friday after completing a five-day tour to Pakistan.

On the last day of the tour, the duke and duchess —Prince William and Kate Middleton — visited an army canine school in Islamabad as their last engagement of the tour. This was the first Royal Visit since the Prince of Wales toured Pakistan in 2006.

During their trip, the duke and duchess saw many sides of the modern, aspirational, dynamic Pakistan – from the vibrant, leafy Islamabad to the cultural capital Lahore, from the fragile to the remote communities in the mountainous north. The Duke and Duchess were seen off at the Nur Khan Airbase by British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and other officials.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Friday visited the recently opened Army Canine Centre, Islamabad, which breeds and trains Arms and Explosive Search (AES) dogs to assist in the discovery of explosive devices.

The royal couple joined the UK and Pakistani expert dog handlers as they trained dogs to find explosive materials by scent. They also took some of the puppies through their paces on an agility training course.

The Army Canine Centre is modelled on the UK’s Defence Animal Training Centre located at Melton Mowbray. The training witnessed forms part of the UK’s Defence Engagement activity of which, a major part is the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device capacity building programme.

The UK has provided CIED training and advice to Pakistan for over 10 years. The training aims to increase the capacity of both military and civilian forces to deliver Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD), Advanced Search, Explosive Scene Investigation training and AES dog and handler training.

The programme has been a success and since the introduction of the programme, the IED threat in Pakistan has reduced significantly and the Pakistani military have opened a National Centre of Excellence for IEDD and search training and a world-class AES training facility (ACC).

To date, 90 AES dog handlers (Police and Military) and 96 AES Dogs have been taught by the UK training teams under Operation HALLEX. All those taught have been deployed or are currently deployed on CIED operations across Pakistan.

They have been responsible for discovering thousands of kilograms of military and homemade explosives and as a result have saved countless lives. Additionally, 54 AES dog handlers have been trained in the UK as Master AES Dog Trainers; these individuals are now instrumental in delivering Pakistan’s AES dog training programme. The ACC opened in Aug 19 was self-funded by Pakistan and modelled on the UK Defence Animal Training Centre at Melton Mowbray.