Afghan and British troops discover huge drugs and explosives cache

Work­ing close­ly with Afghan secu­ri­ty forces, sol­diers of 1st Bat­tal­ion The Roy­al Anglian Reg­i­ment have made a con­sid­er­able dis­cov­ery of insur­gent nar­cotics and sup­plies in the Nad ‘Ali dis­trict of Hel­mand province.

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Sergeant Ter­ry John­son with care­ful­ly bagged evi­dence that may help to iden­ti­fy the own­ers of the explo­sives and their intend­ed use [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The men of A (Nor­folk) Com­pa­ny have been work­ing close­ly with Afghan secu­ri­ty forces since their arrival in Hel­mand in late March.

The dis­cov­ery hap­pened on Thurs­day 17 May when troops from 1st Bat­tal­ion The Roy­al Anglian Reg­i­ment, known as the Vikings, were car­ry­ing out an oper­a­tion with Afghan forces to stop insur­gents threat­en­ing the pro­tect­ed com­mu­ni­ties in Nad ‘Ali.

The oper­a­tion began with a heli­copter inser­tion into the area ear­ly in the morn­ing and after a long march the men of 1 Pla­toon approached the group of com­pounds which intel­li­gence had iden­ti­fied as an area of inter­est.

On arrival at the com­pounds, A Com­pa­ny Sergeant Ter­ry John­son asked Cor­po­ral Jamie Sey­mour to secure the area as he spoke with a local elder.

Sergeant John­son said:

“I was con­tent after liais­ing with the local elder that the area was qui­et; as I made prepa­ra­tions to depart Pri­vate Liam Downes said he had made a find.

“We get tip-offs from the locals reg­u­lar­ly. On this occa­sion we had no rea­son to expect this find was going to be any­thing spe­cial. I want­ed to be hap­py that we weren’t miss­ing any­thing else so I ordered the com­pound near the find to be searched.”

The Afghan Nation­al Direc­torate of Secu­ri­ty (NDS) had received a ‘tip-off’ from locals on the loca­tion of a poten­tial ene­my hoard. The find that Pri­vate Downes had locat­ed turned out to be a 50kg bag of explo­sives.

Fur­ther inside the com­pounds ISAF and NDS per­son­nel locat­ed a nine­ty-kilo­gram bag of opi­um, as well as equip­ment used for fil­tra­tion of the drug.

Sergeant John­son con­tin­ued:

“This is a mas­sive knock to the ene­my. The opi­um has an esti­mat­ed val­ue of $60,000.”

Major Matt Wood­e­s­on, Offi­cer Com­mand­ing A (Nor­folk) Com­pa­ny, said:

“The boys did well, rely­ing on their train­ing and each oth­er. With the co-oper­a­tion of the local nation­als and our Afghan part­ners we have dealt anoth­er blow to the insur­gent cause.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK