Skip to comments.Afghan, British Soldiers Establish New Patrol Base
Posted on 02/16/2010 7:39:09 PM PST by SandRat
Courtesy UK Ministry of Defence
Having launched an airborne assault into a Taliban-controlled area, Royal Welsh and Afghan soldiers have held shuras with the local population and set up a new patrol base to ensure enduring security.
This particular offensive by soldiers from Fire Support Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (1 Royal Welsh), and their partner troops from the Afghan National Army, was one of many which took place this weekend as part of Operation MOSHTARAK.
The soldiers from Fire Support Company, 1 Royal Welsh, launched an airborne assault on Saturday morning from Camp Bastion, landing in three waves of Chinook helicopters close to their objectives which were several compounds and a bazaar either side of the main canal supplying the Nad 'Ali district.
Similar airborne assaults were carried out by British and Afghan troops at other locations in Nad 'Ali and by American and Afghan troops in the Marjah region of central Helmand.
Due to the prevalent threat from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the helicopters carrying the troops of 1 Royal Welsh's Fire Support Company landed in ploughed fields which meant extremely hard going through mud, ditches and water for the troops.
The temperature was near freezing as dawn approached and the Fire Support Company were still in the open and exposed to the insurgent threat. However, they kept pushing on and successfully reached their objectives just after first light.
Having successfully taken the objectives, the British and Afghan soldiers immediately established a new patrol base east of Garbay Noray.
As part of the campaign of engaging with the people of Afghanistan, the compounds were taken over quietly and by negotiation.
The compounds have been secured and fortified. Patrols were then sent out and the Afghan National Army (ANA) led a patrol to the bazaar.
The Counter-IED Team cleared the south side of the canal and was then ferried across the canal by dingy to start clearing the north side. They found and successfully detonated four IEDs in controlled explosions.
There was one small arms contact later in the day, but there were no injuries and for Fire Support Company the day went smoothly.
The patrol base has been fortified in order to hold the position following the initial assault, and the Afghanistan flag raised.
A platoon from Fire Support Company pushed out to set up a checkpoint which they are manning with their ANA partners.
Major Richard Gregory, Officer Commanding Fire Support Company, said:
"I have never felt the burden of responsibility like I did when we came in on this operation; not in Northern Ireland nor in Iraq.
"But when we had made it safely into our objective after being up to our knees in the mud in the dark I thought we had got it right.
"However the hard work is still to be done and we have to prove ourselves to the local population and show them that we can provide them with the security they need."
The next phase of the operation has also begun with meetings (shuras) with the locals set up and patrols sent out to reassure the surrounding population of the security provided by the ISAF presence.
A shura was held in the patrol base and a number of local elders attended to listen to Major Gregory.
Following the shura the ANA led out a patrol of ANA and 1 Royal Welsh troops into the surrounding area and the ANA Platoon Commander discussed the security situation with the locals.
Major Gregory said:
"I was really pleased with the way that patrol went. The ANA Platoon Commander is taking the lead. We still have to prove ourselves to the locals but we have now started that work."
Alongside the British troops on Operation MOSHTARAK are soldiers from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, the United States, France and Estonia. The operation has been planned to remove insurgents from areas of central Helmand not previously cleared by ISAF troops.
Lieutenant General Nick Parker, the British ISAF Deputy Commander in Afghanistan, said that Op MOSHTARAK was the first part of a three-stage plan to increase security in the country.
He said that after the insurgency in the south had been subdued British forces would move to building capacity in the Afghan National Security Forces and that this would likely become the main effort later in the year.
The third stage will be transition and the reintegration of insurgents and sympathisers into Afghan society through an Afghan-led reintegration policy.