Sunday, November 15, 2009

Afghanistan: British troops in Helmand kill 80 Taliban in 10 days of fighting

British troops in Helmand have killed up to 80 insurgents in 10 days of bloody fighting, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

By Sean Rayment. Picture by Heathcliff O'Malley

The battles occurred in two separate areas of Nad e'Ali in central Helmand, where the 1st battalion the Grenadier Guards Battle Group are based.

More than 60 insurgents are thought to have been killed close to Patrol Base Waheed after the Taliban launched a series of "Kamikaze-style" attacks against British troops.

In the southern area of the district, which is also controlled by the Grenadier Guards, soldiers from the battalion's reconnaissance platoon killed an estimated 16 fighters in a carefully planned ambush last Saturday, although it is difficult for the British Army to be precise about enemy casualties.

The attacks follow the deaths of five members of the battle group who were shot dead by a rogue Afghan policeman 12 days ago. Although the Taliban claimed that the policeman was an insurgent agent, there is a growing belief among British commanders that he was probably acting alone.

The first battle began last week when soldiers from the Grenadier Guard's No2 Company, commanded by Major Richard Green, ambushed Taliban fighters, who had been launching a series of "shoot and scoot" attacks against the British base.

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