April 26, 2012 —
Afghan National Police man tractors as they prepare to plow the poppy fields of Nad ‘Ali, Afghanistan during Operation Shafuq, April 22.(Photo by Anthony Ward Jr)
NAD ‘ALI, Afghanistan (April 26, 2012) — As the fighting season begins to unfold, the Afghan National Army has decided to take the fight to the enemy.
With British soldiers in an advisory role, all six kandaks with 3rd Brigade, 215th ANA Corps, along with local police, cleared insurgency and eradicated poppy throughout Nad ‘Ali, Afghanistan, during Operation Shafuq, April 18 through 23.
The mission was to provide support to the Afghan National Security Forces as they cleared the area of insurgency and poppy, said British army Maj. Rupert King-Evans, adviser to Lt. Col. Mohammed Hamayoun, commander of 3rd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 215th Corps.
King-Evans is the commander of the Grenadier Guards of Inkerman Company, who throughout the five-day operation, patrolled countless kilometers of land alongside ANA and Afghan National Police and kept guard as they plowed rolling fields flourishing with poppy.
Throughout the operation ANA and ANP forces would routinely receive Taliban resistance through gunfire and even improvised explosive devices, but that did not deter them from their mission.
“We’ve disrupted the enemy, we found a number of IEDs and destroyed them, we found a number of weapons systems,” said King-Evans. “We captured at least two high-level insurgents on the watch list. I think overall its’ been a tremendous success.”
The entire operation from the planning to final execution was done under Afghan leadership, showing just how ready the Afghan Security Forces are to take over.
“I think they have done a really good job and I think that they know it,” said King-Evans. “It’s quite clear that there’s fantastic interaction between the ANA and the ANP who are clearly driving forward the government’s mission in Afghanistan and extending their reach massively.”
The Grenadier Guards have worked with the ANSF in the past years, allowing them to see the growth the force has made toward a more independent operating organization.
“It was quite good to work with the ANA, I’ve worked with them before,” said Sgt. Michael Fogg, a section commander with 12th Platoon, Inkerman Company, who previously deployed here in 2010. “It was really good to see the change from the first time I came out here, to what their like now. They’re really much better.”
A noticeable difference in the tactics and procedures of the ANA and ANP was observed by the British forces, reinforcing the belief that the ANSF are ready to take the driver’s seat and lead Afghanistan into a safer tomorrow.