Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Army officer defused 13 bombs in just 36 hours
By Sam Marsden, Press Association Chief Reporter, in Lashkar Gah
A British Army officer killed in Afghanistan defused 13 bombs in just 36 hours before his death, it was revealed today.
Captain Dan Shepherd, 28, died trying to dismantle a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) in Helmand Province last month.
Days earlier he had led his bomb disposal team into a key drugs bazaar near Babaji in Helmand as part of Operation Panther's Claw, a major British-led assault on a Taliban stronghold.
The military experts spent three days clearing the area of explosive devices to make it safe for the soldiers of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and local people.
Capt Shepherd, from Lincoln, of the Royal Logistics Corps, was hailed a hero after his death on July 20 for defusing more than 50 IEDs during his time in Afghanistan.
This month his colleagues held workshops in Sangin, an area of Helmand blighted by IEDs, to teach local Afghans how to deal with the threat.
Major Guy Stone, 37, from Putney, west London, commander of the Welsh Guards team mentoring Afghan soldiers in Sangin, said: "Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for young children to tread on these devices and tragically kill themselves."
One senior British officer in Helmand described Sangin as "in effect a low-density minefield".
The officer said it took "nerves of steel" for the British riflemen stationed in the area to go out on their daily patrols.
But he insisted progress was being made in Sangin, and said that there had been successes there which had not been made public for security reasons.