British and Afghan troops take on insurgency in Gereshk

Near­ly 1,000 British and Afghan sol­diers have tak­en part in a major oper­a­tion to increase secu­ri­ty around a vital town in Hel­mand province.

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Afghan Nation­al Army sol­diers on patrol dur­ing Oper­a­tion ROZI ROSHAN [Pic­ture: Sergeant Mark Nes­bit RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge
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A British sol­dier observes the con­trolled det­o­na­tion of an impro­vised explo­sive device unearthed by Afghan Nation­al Army sol­diers and destroyed by Afghan explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al tech­ni­cians [Pic­ture: Cor­po­ral Tim­o­thy L Solano, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

More than 280 British troops joined forces with 690 war­riors from the Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) and patrol­men from the Afghan Nation­al Police to clear insur­gents from the area north of the bustling town of Gereshk in Nahr-e Saraj dis­trict.

Mak­ing this com­mer­cial hub secure is a pri­or­i­ty for Afghan forces in the com­ing year and has become the main focus for cur­rent oper­a­tions.

Nahr-e Saraj is one of the three dis­tricts in Hel­mand where British troops are deployed — and the last where Task Force Hel­mand retains the lead for secu­ri­ty fol­low­ing the tran­si­tion of Nad ‘Ali and Lashkar Gah.

Oper­a­tion ROZI ROSHAN, or ‘Bright Day’, was planned by Afghan Nation­al Army staff and led by Brigadier Gen­er­al Sherin Shah, Com­man­der of the 3rd Brigade of 215 Corps.

It is the third major ANA oper­a­tion in three months and is part of a larg­er Nahr-e Saraj secu­ri­ty plan called Oper­a­tion SHAMALI KAMARBAND.

Troops from the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) advised Afghan sol­diers and head­quar­ters staff through­out the oper­a­tion, which saw Afghan engi­neers, advised by sap­pers from 35 and 38 Engi­neer Reg­i­ments, build six new check­points to pro­tect a tran­sit route between Gereshk and the town of Rahim Kalay.

The ANA’s 3/215 Brigade is men­tored by 2nd Bat­tal­ion The Rifles (2 RIFLES), and Rifle­men from 2 RIFLES joined their Afghan col­leagues on the ground along­side troops from 1st Bat­tal­ion The York­shire Reg­i­ment, the Queen’s Roy­al Hus­sars, the Roy­al Engi­neers, and the Dan­ish Army, whose troops are respon­si­ble for secu­ri­ty in the area.

The sol­diers on the ground were also boost­ed by counter-impro­vised explo­sive device teams, search dogs and intel­li­gence and sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties.

Afghan war­riors report­ed find­ing over 40 IEDs and com­po­nent parts which were destroyed by the ANA’s own bomb dis­pos­al spe­cial­ists — the explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al oper­a­tors and explo­sive haz­ard reduc­tion teams.

Cap­tain Edward Will­ing, from 2 RIFLES, said:

“This oper­a­tion was well-planned and exe­cut­ed and has expand­ed the secu­ri­ty bub­ble north of Gereshk.

“This has, yet again, demon­strat­ed the ANA’s abil­i­ty to con­duct large and com­plex inde­pen­dent oper­a­tions in con­junc­tion with the Afghan Police with only lim­it­ed sup­port from ISAF.”

Brigadier Gen­er­al Shah said:

“The ANSF [Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces] are ready to pro­vide secu­ri­ty for the peo­ple of this area.

“My mes­sage to those who are fight­ing against our gov­ern­ment is to come and join the peace process, as this can be the only solu­tion.”

Brigadier Patrick Sanders, the Com­man­der of the British-led Task Force Hel­mand, said the oper­a­tion was a vital step towards pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty in the area. He said:

“This was the sec­ond major oper­a­tion con­ceived, planned and led by Afghan forces in the space of a month and fol­lows the suc­cess of Oper­a­tion ZAMESTAANI PEEROZI.

“Task Force Hel­mand per­son­nel were deployed in a sup­port­ing and advi­so­ry role in each of these oper­a­tions, which have both demon­strat­ed the sig­nif­i­cant capa­bil­i­ties of the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces.

“Afghan forces are apply­ing sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure to the insur­gents through­out the win­ter.

“The check­points built as a result of this oper­a­tion will increase secu­ri­ty in the local area and pave the way for Afghan forces to take on respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty in the future.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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