British soldiers fight Taliban in two-day battle

A fero­cious two-day-long bat­tle between the Tal­iban and British troops with their Afghan police part­ners has tak­en place fol­low­ing a dawn air­borne raid to destroy insur­gent impro­vised explo­sive devices.

Sol­diers run­ning under fire dur­ing the fero­cious bat­tle with insur­gents [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Oper­a­tion ZAMARY TAKHTA, or ‘Lion’s Rage’, was launched to clear the Pupalzay area of Lashkar Gah dis­trict in Hel­mand province of the dead­ly bombs which can indis­crim­i­nate­ly maim and kill ISAF and Afghan forces as well as local civilians. 

The force, made up of sol­diers from the Queen’s Roy­al Hus­sars (QRH), 1st Bat­tal­ion The Princess of Wales’s Roy­al Reg­i­ment (1 PWRR) and Afghan Uni­form Police, was flown by heli­copter into the vil­lage of Pupalzay, to the east of the city of Lashkar Gah, to pro­tect a Roy­al Engi­neers bomb dis­pos­al team who locat­ed and destroyed sev­en IEDs as well as an IED layer. 

Soon after the mis­sion start­ed though the UK and Afghan forces encoun­tered strong resis­tance from insur­gents and the oper­a­tion turned into a fero­cious battle. 

Cor­po­ral Gavin Roberts, QRH, said: 

“Pret­ty quick­ly it became evi­dent that the insur­gents were going to put up a strong fight. Fol­low­ing our dawn inser­tion into the vil­lage the women and chil­dren began to flee, so the place was left eeri­ly qui­et and we sensed we were being watched.” 

QRH Troop­er Daniel Ghun­doo said: 

“The ground shook as the engi­neers blew bomb after bomb. Sud­den­ly, a burst of auto­mat­ic gun­fire whipped and cracked over­head and all around, kick­ing up the dust and tear­ing the bark off trees. The bat­tle had begun.” 

The sol­diers fought until night fell, before with­draw­ing under the cov­er of dark­ness and a flam­ing smoke screen laid down by artillery guns. But the next day fight­ing intensified. 

Lieu­tenant Har­ry Mossop said: 

“It was ear­ly in the morn­ing and we had moved into the vil­lagers’ com­pound to get ‘eyes on’ the like­ly ene­my posi­tions. Sud­den­ly the air around us erupt­ed with the crack of gun­fire and the ground shook as the ene­my fired grenades at our position.” 

The com­pa­ny con­tin­ued to engage the insur­gents inter­mit­tent­ly through­out the day as they defend­ed the counter-IED team. 

The 1 PWRR pla­toon also seized over half-a-tonne of cannabis seeds from the com­pound they had occupied. 

Before sun­set the British troops and Afghan police with­drew to their base and extract­ed from the area along a deep irri­ga­tion ditch, waist-deep in mud­dy water, while cov­er­ing fire was pro­vid­ed by snipers and a Jack­al armoured vehi­cle equipped with a .50-cal­i­bre heavy machine gun. 

Cap­tain Jer­ry Kearse of the QRH said the oper­a­tion had been a success: 

“We want­ed to strike at the heart of the insur­gency here, and this oper­a­tion cer­tain­ly gave them a bloody nose.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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