ANXIOUS military families back in Chester are praying their loved ones stay safe as British soldiers prepare to take part in a major assault on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Troops from 1st battalion The Royal Welsh, whose wives and children live at the Dale Camp, are currently based at Camp Bastion waiting for the signal to move in.

Royal Welsh forms part of the 4,000 strong British force that will soon launch Operation Moshtarak the biggest assault ever mounted against the Taliban.

They will join the Coldstream Guards, Grenadier Guards, Royal Engineers to work alongside Afghan forces in an attack which commanders hope will prove decisive for the war in Helmand.

Royal Welsh soldiers have been rehearsing their drills before the ‘step off’ for the attack against a Taliban force in an area where an estimated 300 fighters are dug in.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the men have been given motivational speeches by their officers as they wait to commence battle, ducking in and out of major thunder storms and flooding.

“Be under no illusion under what we do over the next few weeks is hugely important,” Major Ed Hill told the men of B Company.

“There is a huge amount of interest in how this operation works. If successful it will be used as a springboard for Helmand and then across the rest of Afghanistan.”

As he spoke as soldiers underwent intense briefings for the push against the remaining Taliban strongholds in central Helmand that have remained free from government control for decades.

The Royal Welsh deployed before Christmas, providing an extra 500 men, increasing the UK’s military presence to 9,500 in a country which has so far claimed 255 British lives.