South West-based Royal Marines of 30 Commando have carried out a successful operation in an insurgent stronghold of Helmand resulting in a substantial weapons find and a number of insurgents being detained.
By the end of the operation, a number of IEDs, weapons and a large amount of bomb making material had been seized in a former insurgent stronghold which is being made safe for NATO forces and civlians. The seizure included:
• 34 x pressure plates
• 40KG Home Made Explosives (HME)
• 1 x chest rig (could be used as a suicide vest)
• 1 x AK 47
• 1 x PKM (Kalashnikov’s Machine-gun Modernized)
• 1 x RPG
• 25 batteries
• Significant number of charges and detonator components
• Command wires and detonation cord
• 150 rounds of various calibre of ammunition
• 7 x projectiles (used as IED components)
Sergeant John Phillips Royal Marines said: “The intelligence for the operations turned out to be accurate. However, we didn’t expect to find as many IED components and weapons as we did. It’s a great result and a great feeling for all the lads involved knowing that a substantial amount of IEDs have been seized which cannot now be employed against ISAF.”
In addition, four individuals, suspected of involvement in insurgent activity were detained.
Major Nick Foster, Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Brigade Reconnaissance Force: “The destruction by the BRF of this IED factory and large cache of IEDs with the detention of the four assessed bomb makers will have a significant effect in reducing the insurgent threat to both coalition military and local civilians in the Nahr-e Saraj area. It should also hopefully mean that there will be less innocent civilians injured or killed by the indiscriminate use of IEDs.”
The Brigade Reconnaissance Force comprises Royal Marines (Plymouth), soldiers from 24 Commando Regiment (North Devon), Royal Engineers, 29 Commando Regiment (Plymouth), Royal Artillery and 9th 12th Lancers and Royal Military Police.
The operation was in the Zumbalay area of Nahr-e Saraj North which includes Khar Nikah, Saidan, Yakchal, Adinza and Rahim. This was once an area where insurgents were firmly established and able to move freely, storing weapons and material which was used to target innocent civilians as well as Afghan and ISAF personnel.
However, despite improvements in security over recent months, intelligence suggests that insurgent commanders have been still operating in the area and putting the lives of locals and coalition forces at risk. The operation was therefore, mounted to disrupt the remaining factions of the insurgent network and push them away from the protected communities, the BRF and their Afghan partners decided to mount an operation into Zumbalay.
Afghan soldiers from 3 Kandak, of the Afghan National Army’s 215 Brigade, took the lead in planning and executing the operation with the BRF in support. Once on the ground the ANA troops pushed forward, with the BRF right behind them. They carried out a wave of successful daylight searches in compounds and hunted down insurgent safe houses.