Sunday, January 10, 2010
UK Press Association
More British support is needed to help push insurgents out of a remote but strategically important area of Afghanistan, the assistant district governor has said.
Local people in the Kajaki area of northern Helmand feel as if they are being ignored, he said.
Many villages surrounding the British base in the area were deserted in 2006 after the Taliban threatened to kill anybody who was seen co-operating with coalition troops.
Speaking through an interpreter, Torjan, who uses only one name, said if the situation was to improve there would need to be more help from both coalition forces and the Afghan government.
He said the British were doing a good job with the small number of soldiers based in the area but more men were needed to mount a surge against the enemy.
"For a future operation we will need more men here," he said. "The bazaar in this district has been closed for three or four years. I don't know why Isaf and the Afghan government don't pay attention to the situation in this area. The local civilians are very disappointed."
The area is important because of the Kajaki dam, which provides electricity to Helmand province and parts of Kandahar province. The dam itself is firmly under the Isaf control, but securing the surrounding areas for people to return to their homes is not as high on the list of priorities.
The district does not have big population centres like Sangin, Musa Qala and Nowzad. Even so, soldiers from C Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, are trying to push the security bubble further north. And there are plans to build another observation post, to be manned by the Afghan National Police (ANP).
This mini police station would watch over the area, help push the Taliban further from the dam, and give more security to local villagers.