Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2 Rifles Battle Group provide security in Sangin

The Sangin based 2 Rifles Battle Group played a key role in providing security while a school, a health clinic and government buildings were opened by the first Afghan central government minister to travel to Sangin.

Over 400 local people turned out to see the new facilities and attend a shura ignoring potential intimidation.

In the run up to the visit the 2 Rifles BG in conjunction with the Afghan National Army and Police set up substantial security operation as Sangin has been one of the most dangerous towns in Afghanistan.

"I think we've seen a very impressive message given out to the people of Sangin that the Government of Afghanistan cares. It's a chance for Government to make contact with its people and to demonstrate by opening these facilities that things are being delivered to the people of Afghanistan," said Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, Commanding Officer of 2 Rifles BG.

Lt Col Thomson has been working closely with the District Governor. He continued:

"This is an Afghan lead; it's what the District Governor wants. I'm struck by how quickly he has brought us into his close circle of advisors so during the preparation for this shura we spoke quite a lot about what he wanted to achieve and how we could help that with security and because he's a man who has seen some fierce fighting he saw our security plan and was very happy with it.

"The Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police provided the security and close protection and that's an indication of growing capacity here in Sangin. The Battle Group conducted patrols on the outskirts of the town and from the patrol bases nearby.

"Overall, we've had the Government of Afghanistan come to Sangin and as a result they have been able to demonstrate that they have listened to the concerns of the people of Sangin so that's an important step, and we as a military organisation, both ISAF and the Afghan National Security Forces, have planned and executed a joint operation which has meant we've provided security and importantly shown that the government zone is a place where we know we have an assurance of security."

Lt Col Thomson added:

"I think we've seen a very impressive message given out to the people of Sangin that the Government of Afghanistan cares."

2 Rifles BG have been in Sangin for just over a month and are working alongside the Afghan National Army and Police.

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