Afghanistan — Royal Marines storm Sangin bomb factory

Roy­al Marines of 40 Com­man­do and their Afghan Army col­leagues have stormed an insur­gent com­pound in Hel­mand, seiz­ing 40kg of home­made explo­sives and equip­ment for mak­ing impro­vised explo­sive devices (IEDs).

Insurgent compound:
Insur­gent com­pound: “It was like find­ing a mini-fac­to­ry of IEDs” — Major Dun­can Forbes, 40 Com­man­do Roy­al Marines
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The biggest find to date for the Com­man­dos should ham­per San­gin-based insur­gents in their efforts to under­mine secu­ri­ty in the area.

The Roy­al Marines say they’ve sent a stark mes­sage to the insur­gents that there are no longer any ‘no-go’ areas in the San­gin dis­trict.

40 Com­man­do Group Oper­a­tions Offi­cer, Major Dun­can Forbes, said:

“We will ruth­less­ly tar­get those who seek to desta­bilise the region.”

The iso­lat­ed IED fac­to­ry was tar­get­ed after a num­ber of small arms engage­ments from a series of com­pounds on the high ground to the east of For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Nolay and Patrol Base Jamil.

The Roy­al Marines of 40 Com­man­do and their Afghan part­ners watched the area close­ly in advance.

Royal Marines at the insurgent compound in Helmand's Sangin district
Roy­al Marines at the insur­gent com­pound in Helmand’s San­gin dis­trict
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The Com­man­dos sprang into action after a covert overnight inser­tion from two sep­a­rate loca­tions. A mobile Quick Reac­tion Force patrol was primed to sup­port the oper­a­tion.

At first light the patrol made their final approach towards the com­pound where weapons were vis­i­ble through the open arch­ways. Using their well-rehearsed counter-IED drills they iso­lat­ed the com­pound and, on dis­cov­er­ing the explo­sives cache, called in the counter-IED experts.

The oper­a­tion was a com­plete suc­cess with no casu­al­ties and no col­lat­er­al dam­age. The bomb dis­pos­al team destroyed the explo­sives and recov­ered the remain­ing items for fur­ther exam­i­na­tion. Major Forbes said:

“It was like find­ing a mini-fac­to­ry of IEDs. All the com­po­nents and mate­ri­als required to con­struct them were stored inside the com­pound.”

The 40 Com­man­do Chief of Staff, Major Andy Walk­er, said:

“This is an excel­lent find. Today, with our Afghans part­ners, we have stopped the insur­gents from using these mate­ri­als to make IEDs, which they use to maim and kill indis­crim­i­nate­ly. Nobody here wants them. Too many peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, are get­ting hurt.”

Once the com­pound was secured and declared safe from IED boo­by-traps, the patrol held a num­ber of shuras, or meet­ings, with the local nation­als to inform them that the area is now safe.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, Unit­ed King­dom