Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Afghan forces raise the country’s flag above Sayedebad, Helmand as the Decisive Phase of Op TOR SHEZADA comes to a close

Members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) have raised the country’s flag above the town of Sayedebad, which is now under ISAF and ANA control.

Sergeant Sheraga from the Afghan National Army said, “We are proud, as we have now taken control of this area. Before this area was under the control of the Taliban. They disturbed all the people. Now we are very happy. We appreciate the International Security Assistance Force in helping us with this mission.”

Sergeant Sheraga of the Afghan National Army standing in front of a recently raised Afghan flag in Sayedebad.

At the same time, forces from Corunna Company, the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment completed their clearance of the road from Nad-e-Ali to Sayedebad and met up with their sister company, Somme, who had held the town since Monday 2 August.

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence OBE, Commanding Officer of 1LANCS on his arrival in the town to see troops and the progress made said, “The operation has been a huge success. There really hasn’t been much fighting at all. There has been a tiny bit of harassing fire from the insurgents, but effectively we have stolen the town of Sayedebad.”

Soldiers from Somme Company were treated to a cooked meal of fresh rations, before Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence patrolled through the town with his troops. On the way he spoke to locals, asking them about the arrival of ISAF and the ANA.

He commented, “It is a huge step forward for [the population]. The trick is now to secure the town with our Afghan partners and that will set the conditions for reconstruction and development to take place but importantly, for the District Governor to get down here, meet his people, confirm their needs, and then start to improve their quality of life.”

The Officer Commanding Somme Company, Major Darren Newman briefing the Commanding officer of the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Lt Col Frazer Lawrence OBE on the current situation on Sayedebad.

Working with the District Council and the District Governor over the coming weeks, ISAF will look to conduct development projects in the region. “The aim is to improve the school, get the school working again. To clean out irrigation ditches and to meet the other needs that [the population] are bound to have.” said Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence.

Somme Company extracted by Chinook helicopter as daylight broke on the 6th day of the operation after handing the security of the town over to Corunna Company and the Afghan National Army.

A community shura took place on 09 August 2010 involving more than 60 key leaders, tribal elders and members of the Security Council and Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Lt Col Frazer Lawrence, District Governor Habibullah and a senior representative from the Ministry of Education were in attendance to discuss the progress and how the area will move forward now that the security has improved. Numerous stabilisation and reconstruction projects were discussed and will begin in earnest in the next few days whilst the Check Points are being fortified. There will remain a continuous ANSF presence in the region to continue to provide the security to allow freedom of movement and to permit economic development.

Photos: Cpl Barry Lloyd RLC/MOD 2010

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