UK and Afghan troops conduct dawn raid in Helmand

British troops and Afghan com­man­dos have con­duct­ed a dar­ing dawn raid under fire to tar­get a sus­pect­ed impro­vised explo­sive device (IED) fac­to­ry in Hel­mand province.

Troops pro­tect their eyes from the debris kicked up by a descend­ing heli­copter [Pic­ture: Sergeant Wes Calder RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Oper­a­tion EAGLE’S SHADOW saw more than 90 sol­diers from the Brigade Recon­nais­sance Force (BRF) fly in three heli­copters to the sus­pect­ed fac­to­ry in north­ern Nahr‑e Saraj district. 

The area had ear­li­er been cor­doned off by Scim­i­tar Mk2 armoured vehi­cles equipped with 30mm can­nons, and Warthog all-ter­rain troop car­ri­ers armed with .50-cal­i­bre heavy machine guns and 40mm grenade machine guns. 

The vehi­cles, crewed by the For­ma­tion Recon­nais­sance Squadron, the BRF and the Warthog Group, helped to pro­tect the land­ing sites as the heli­copters swooped in. 

Once on the ground, the sol­diers came under harass­ing fire from insur­gents as they moved in towards the compounds. 

But the insur­gents with­drew after two short fire fights, and, with a pro­tec­tive Apache attack heli­copter now over­head, the sol­diers moved on to the com­pound where local Afghans said insur­gents had been man­u­fac­tur­ing IEDs. 

Troops found the build­ing had been recent­ly aban­doned but dis­cov­ered a cap­tive patrol­man from the Afghan Uni­form Police (AUP) who told them the insur­gents planned to exe­cute him lat­er that day. 

As the sol­diers moved out, they spot­ted sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty at anoth­er com­pound close by, and when they searched the build­ings they dis­cov­ered 30kg of opi­um, an AK-47 sub-machine gun and large sums of mon­ey in dif­fer­ent denominations. 

The BRF con­sists of sol­diers from 1st The Queen’s Dra­goon Guards and 1st Bat­tal­ion The York­shire Reg­i­ment, while the Warthog Group is manned by sol­diers from the Queen’s Roy­al Hussars. 

2nd Lieu­tenant Barn­a­by Smith, an intel­li­gence offi­cer from 1st The Queen’s Dra­goon Guards, said: 

“This Afghan-led oper­a­tion not only recov­ered a mem­ber of the AUP but dis­rupt­ed the insur­gents in their back­yard, deny­ing them the free­dom of move­ment they have recent­ly enjoyed in the area where they thought they were safe.” 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Jasper de Quincey Adams, the Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of 1st The Queen’s Dra­goon Guards and in over­all com­mand of the oper­a­tion, said: 

“This was anoth­er clas­sic exam­ple of the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces and the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force work­ing togeth­er to relent­less­ly pur­sue the insur­gent through­out Helmand. 

“All of the sol­diers and air­men involved in the oper­a­tion worked togeth­er to deliv­er a high-impact effect that demon­strates the reach of the Afghan Gov­ern­ment. This will send out a clear mes­sage to our Afghan part­ners that we will con­tin­ue to offer our sup­port how­ev­er dan­ger­ous or com­plex the mission.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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