Monday, April 12, 2010

3 RIFLES improve security along Helmand road

Riflemen from B Company, 3rd Battalion the Rifles (3 RIFLES), have been undertaking an operation to maintain security on Route 611 through Helmand province, thereby improving freedom of movement in the area.

Based at Forward Operating Base Jackson, Sangin, since October 2009, B Company has been working closely with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure the area to allow locals to go about their normal lives.

Thanks partly to the ability of ISAF and ANSF to maintain security on Route 611, the primary route which connects the town to the outlying communities, the Sangin bazaar has grown considerably recently.

Operation GHARTSE GHADMAHE 5 was the latest move by Combined Force Sangin to improve freedom of movement on Route 611, with the soldiers creating new checkpoints and improved culverts that are harder for the insurgents to lay IEDs in.

Captain Warren Marginson, Second-in-Command of B Company, explained:

"Route 611 is vital to the local economy of Sangin, and securing it is one of our primary responsibilities."

While Sappers from the Royal Engineers set about construction and culvert work, B Company Riflemen from 4 Platoon and Recce Platoon secured the area to the south to allow the work to go ahead unhindered.

Serjeant Lee Slater, Recce Platoon, commented:

"We attracted quite a lot of attention from the insurgents when we moved into our positions.

"The fact that they were concentrating their attacks on us and not the engineers means that the plan was working - even if it was a bit hectic at times."

For over 72 hours B Company remained in position and repulsed numerous insurgent attacks. After the initial onslaught, attacks petered out as the insurgents accepted defeat.

With the construction work completed, Route 611 is now more secure.

Captain Marginson said:

"The stream of local nationals heading along Route 611 is the best indicator of the progress we are making in Sangin."

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