Monday, August 2, 2010

British and Afghan forces take Taliban stronghold of Sayedebad, southern Afghanistan

Soldiers serving with Somme Company, the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, working jointly with the Afghan National Army (ANA), have seized and held the last Taliban stronghold of Sayedebad in southern Afghanistan.

Moving out under the cover of darkness, soldiers from 1 LANCS, the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, 21 Engineer Regiment and the Counter IED Taskforce patrolled through fields and waist high irrigation ditches to reach the outskirts of the town. In a swift move under the protection of fire support being provided by troops out to the east, two compounds to the south of the village were cleared of possible insurgents and IEDs.

Soldiers from Somme Company setting up radio systems inside a newly occupied compound

Major Darren Newman, Officer Commanding Somme Company the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment said at the time, “The Company along with our Afghan partners has cleared through Sayedebad and we have systematically cleared through each of the compounds looking for insurgent activity.”

Once a foothold had been achieved, and defensive positions established in the compounds, two joint units of British and Afghan soldiers moved forward clearing through the town on the west and east sides from the south. At each stage, Afghan security forces were used to interact with the local Sayedebad population.

He continues, “As we have pushed through we’ve found nothing to suggest the Taliban have been here in the last 48-72 hours. It appears the presence of overwhelming forces from ISAF and the ANA has effectively meant the insurgents have fled out of this area before we arrived….Local atmospherics appear to be good. The locals are welcoming and pleased with our presence”
Once the village had been cleared, ISAF forces held a Shura (a local meeting) with the elders of the town to explain what had been happening.

The Officer Commanding of Somme Company, Major Darren Newman holding a shura with local elders in the town of Sayedebad.

Major Newman, “They’ve agreed to work with us in partnership to provide security here and clear the area of improvised explosive devices. Their main concern was security. Clearly if we have a permanent presence here that is something we hope to address in the very first instance.”
Security is the main focus for ISAF in this region. Although Sayedebad was free of insurgents, as the Shura was taking place heavy firing could be heard 800m to the north as Corruna Company, 1 LANCS continued its push south to open up the road between Sayedebad and Nad-e-Ali. The road continues to present a heavy IED threat to ISAF forces and the local population.

Major Newman concluded, “We’ll now look to consolidate our position and start searching for improvised explosive devices in the vicinity of the local compounds and routes in and out. Where we find them we’ll remove them.”

Photos: Cpl Barry Lloyd RLC/MOD 2010

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