Squaddies with beards....
Here's the tailpiece:
"Lieutenant Rob Phillips leads a twelve-strong patrol from Two-One Air Assault Battery through the town. A luxuriant red beard is revealed when he unstraps his hard hat, before chatting to locals. "To them, it signals I am the commander. They've associated it with authority through all of their culture."
As a footnote, I cultivate a beard every once in a while (varying from a a goatee to a Solzhenitsyn special)and when bearded I do find the world looks quite different, so I can understand the position of the Pashtuns.