The last week of January saw Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and their Australian mentors remove significant quantities of explosives, ordnance and weapons from insurgents located within the Baluchi Valley area of Uruzgan Province.
This included an insurgent bomb-making facility, which was discovered on 25 January and contained more than 400kg of explosives and 20 pre-prepared Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Numerous smaller cache finds also removed insurgent weapons and bombs from the area.
Mentoring Team Leader Lieutenant Alex Davidson believed the cache finds had come at a pivotal time, as the Afghan winter gave way to the warmer “fighting season”.
“We also located six rocket propelled grenades, a mortar, rocket propelled grenade motors, detonator cords and electrical IED components. All of these are components for IEDs so we’ve hit them [the insurgents] where it hurts.” Lieutenant Davidson said.
The operations were conducted in the vicinity of the newly established Patrol Base Samad in the Baluchi valley. This valley was historically an area of significant insurgent activity and the discovery of the IED-making facility was aided by the greatly increased local influence provided by the new base
Another mission conducted by the ANA and their Australian partners during the final week of January, uncovered significant quantities of aluminium powder, a key component used in the production of explosives. Other recent cache finds included significant quantities of rockets, munitions and weapon systems.
Commander of Joint Task Force 633 Major-General Angus Campbell said, “These latest finds not only disrupt the efforts of the insurgents, but also help indicate the growing capabilities of the ANSF”.
“The Afghan National Army and their Australian mentors have been able to take the information provided to them by local sources and develop a targeted operation that will certainly affect future insurgent activities,” said Major-General Campbell.
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