Patrol Base South-West is a tiny compound 2km west of the Musa Qal'eh District Centre.

I travelled with the 3 Scots on a resupply convey to remote Afghan National Army and British outpost.

We drove in a some of the newly delivered Jackal armoured vehicles, used for reconnaissance, rapid assault, fire support and convoy protection.

It is armed with a General Purpose Machine Gun and either a heavy machine gun or a machine grenade launcher.

The new design of the vehicles has meant that Improvised Explosive Devices IEDs are having less of the desired effect and crews are much more likely to survive the impact with only minimal injuries.

We sped out of Musa Qal'eh DC at 3pm, across the Wadi and through the winding and tight roads of an outlying village.

Locals lined the streets, carrying crops and water back from the river, kids waved as we drove by then once we'd passed through stones at the vehicle.

The main threat is not from direct Taliban fire but buried IEDs that could have been planted the night before. Any thing thought to be suspicious in the road is approached with caution as the IED threat constantly plays on the minds of the soldiers.

One of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operators, Sergeant Stevie Jack, said: “They are getting a lot cleverer with the way they plant the IEDs. We had one incident when they planted one in the same place we disposed of another one just an hour before.

“Instead of engaging us in direct fire fights, which they know from experience they will lose, they have adopted a lot of the tactics used by insurgents in Iraq.”

As we neared the compound ANA soldiers caught sight of us, or heard the roar of the engines, and began to move the barb-wire barricade to let us in.

The compound, no bigger than an tennis court, was surrounded on all sides by 15-20 foot walls mounted with sandbags, razor wire and general purpose machine guns.

Soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Scotland slept outside on cot beds with mosquito nets, under the shelter of the shadow cast by the walls.

They had adopted some of the local strays including a dog, a cat and a fearless bird who constantly tried to kill the cat.

Afghan locals, who treat animals very cruelly, would have cut off its tail and ears and would have probably left it to die of starvation.

However, kind soldiers from the Army Dog Units, de-worm, de-flea and tame the animals who become a welcome source of distraction from the grind of daily life.

The men here, who like other patrol bases, ate from 24-hour ration packs and drank water from bottles brought in through resupply, were close to the DC but otherwise cut off from reinforcements and wide open to Taliban attack.

One of the soldiers said: “We heard recently that the Taliban were preparing to launch an attack against us, with about 20 to 30 guys. It was laughable really because we later heard they couldn't attack us because their motorcycle had broken down.”

After a brief chat and a cup of tea we left the soldiers and made our way back to the vehicles to set off back to the DC.

As we left the compound a suspicious vehicle had stopped near the vehicle checkpoint and as we drove past tensions were obviously high. Fortunately for myself but more importantly the men driving the vehicles it reversed out of the way and we were free to pass unhindered.

We passed two burka clad women as they walked at the side of the road. It was the first time in my whole trip that I had seen any females other than small girls and their nervousness around the vehicles but more importantly the men driving them was noticeable.

I was told that taking pictures of them was considered a big no-no and could cause problems if it got back to any of the local tribal leaders.

While the Afghans were obviously apprehensive around the soldiers and their vehicles, they smiled at us and waved as we drove by.

A lot of work has been done to get the locals on-side. When locals are hit by Taliban laid IEDs coalition forces do everything they can to stabilise and treat them on base and in the severest instances evacuate them to the Camp Bastion Hospital.

Buildings or crops inadvertently destroyed in fire fights are repaired or paid for by the coalition and a good relationship has been built on mutual trust and information sharing with the local population.

The hearts and minds tactic has so far paid dividends to the regiments serving in Afghanistan where locals have become fed up with Taliban taxes and the destruction that is almost certainly brought with their presence.

• For more from our reporter Harry Miller in Afghanistan, click here