UK troops have intercepted hundreds of rounds of ammunition and improvised explosive devices during an operation in Helmand Province, while British-mentored Afghan police officers seized 400kgs of cannabis.
Soldiers from 9th/12th Royal Lancers and from 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment supported an Afghan Uniformed Police clearance operation in Yakchal to the east of the town of Gereshk. Enemy troops often move through the area and in the past it has been the source of Improvised Explosive Devices, which have been used against British, American and Afghan forces.
Major Angus Tilney, Officer Commanding of A Squadron, 9th/12th Royal Lancers, said: “This was the third time we’ve worked alongside the AUP on an operation, and again it unfolded according to plan. Our mutual understanding and complementary skills have made this a blossoming relationship which has promoted the eminence of the AUP in the eyes of the Afghan people.”
Anti-personnel mines, ammunition and IED components
The operation saw a limited response from the insurgents, who were taken by surprise by the speed and efficiency of the operation. Sergeant Chris Browne of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force said: “They’d watch our helicopters land but were then disorientated by the other troops moving in from all directions.”
Having completed the operation the Afghan police discovered more than 400kg of drugs which would have been used to fund attacks on security forces across Helmand. British forces found anti-personnel mines, ammunition and IED components.
“My troop made some good finds, including over 300 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 10 mines,” said Lance Corporal Brett Chaplin, 25, from Leicester. “Those mines could have been used against us, or against the Afghans.”
With the Afghan security forces firmly in the lead for operations in Afghanistan, British forces are drawing down before the end of combat operations later this year. The Lancers, who deployed last October, were last in Helmand in summer 2011.
“the hot seat of operations”
“This is a very different phase of the campaign,” said Sergeant Major Mark Kaminski, of Northampton, who was advising the Afghan National Army on his last tour. “Before, we were very much mentoring and advising the Afghan security forces. Now they’re taking the lead on their own security.”
Lieutenant Chris Guest, 29, from Birmingham added: “This was an opportunity to facilitate AUP operations into a difficult area. They operate differently to us, but it’s good to be able to stand further back and to observe them in the hot seat of operations. They are the future for Afghanistan’s sustained security and it was highly encouraging to see them operate so effectively.”
Original article written by and sourced from – army.mod.uk