HUNDREDS of British troops including Gurkhas have routed the Taliban in a no-go area in south Afghanistan.
The force of 250 troops fought alongside Afghan National Army troops to drive the Taliban from the "Snake's Belly" area of southern Helmand province.
They braved a "maelstrom" of Taliban fire to kill dozens of the enemy in an intelligence gathering mission along several bends in the Helmand River.Operation Kapcha Baz, led by the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, followed a similar operation further south earlier this month by the 42 Commando Group.
The latest operation - which comes near the end of the soldiers' six month tour of duty - targeted Taliban strongholds which have been used as stopping off points for insurgents moving up from Pakistan to attack British bases in central and northern Helmand.
The main assault force was A Squadron 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards in heavily armed Jackal vehicles and Riflemen from 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles. In one clash they caught the enemy unawares as it was preparing an ambush.Major Jody Davies of 2RGR said:
“After assessing that the enemy were no doubt lying in wait for us, we moved forward in a slow and deliberate way, fully expecting the enemy to open fire on us.
"However, we spotted the enemy first, positively identified carrying weapons and preparing an ambush.
"We were able to engage their firing points at first with our own small-arms whilst our Fire Support Team called in fire from the Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System, which proved deadly.