British and Afghan troops team up to push back Taliban forces in the southern Nad ‘Ali district.
KABUL, Afghanistan (June 8, 2010) — British soldiers and Afghan security forces have been involved in a dramatic push south into insurgent-held territory to move Taliban fighters away from the population centers of the southern Nad 'Ali district and establish new patrol bases.
Commanding Officer of Combined Force Nad 'Ali, Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence, said:
"There are three small population centres down on the southern patrol baseline. At the moment, the patrol bases are right in the population centres. If the insurgent attacks the patrol bases it means the local population could get caught up in the fighting. That is the last thing that we want to happen.
"So the purpose of this operation has been to push the patrol bases further out to increase the security footprint, and to provide a buffer zone between the patrol bases and the local population, so that should fighting occur, the locals are not caught up in it."
The operation saw three new patrol bases taken over by British and Afghan forces. These were then used as footholds to provide protection from insurgents while Army bomb disposal experts cleared roads running into the new locations of IEDs.
At the same time, ground-holding patrols repelled insurgents on the right and left of the new routes, who were attempting to disrupt the operation.The operation began with a move by the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Jackal vehicles to pull insurgents away from the intended new patrol base areas. This was followed by a push at dawn by infantry troops to seize the new patrol base locations and establish hasty defensive positions to repel any Taliban attacks until the new compounds had been cleared of possible improvised explosive devices.
The push further south in the Nad 'Ali district continues the efforts made by British forces during Operation Moshtarak earlier in the year to increase the military footprint in the area and improve the lives of the local nationals by increasing freedom of movement and ultimately allowing economic development to take place and undermine the insurgency.The aim now is to hold this ground and start reconstruction and development projects in the region:
"The next step is to focus on the three communities, make sure governance has improved in these areas, improve reconstruction, and to get these population centres secure," said Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence.