An airborne operation has been launched into an insurgent stronghold in Afghanistan, resulting in a significant find of weapons and bomb making equipment.
The 12th Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), made up of soldiers and officers from the Light Dragoons, known as The Northern Cavalry, pushed into the area of Shorokay in the Upper Gereshk Valley as part of Operation Daas (which means Scythe in Dari) searching a complex bunker system.
Lance Corporal Richard Brown (26), of the Light Dragoons, said:
“When we were dropped off at dawn by American Osprey aircraft, the other two troops pushed to the east as we pushed on to the high ground in the north, providing intimate support to the others.”
Trooper Jamie Lough (24), of the Light Dragoons, said:
“We were straight into patrolling through the caves and bunkers. It was incredibly dark and full of alleyways and crevices that we had to search.
“When we made the finds, it felt really good to get it all off the ground, out of the insurgents’ hands as it’s going to save a lot more lives.”
“insurgents were watching”
A thorough search of the caves and the surrounding compounds and buildings revealed 150kg of homemade explosives, as much weight as a professional wrestler, and everything needed to make bombs to target Afghan and coalition forces, as well as automatic rifles, hand grenades and ammunition.
They also found evidence of an insurgent team that linked some of the equipment to a known bomb maker in the area.
Lance Corporal Craig Dunleavy (23), of the Light Dragoons, said:
“As the operation was going on, I felt quite safe because the operation was a good one; it had been planned really well.
“We knew the insurgents were watching us taking the stuff away from them, but they couldn’t do anything about it.”
As the soldiers began to withdraw, one of the groups providing security to the rest of the operation came under fire.
The fire wasn’t accurate enough or in a large enough amount to warrant an offensive reaction by the troops, and they deterred the insurgents with two warning shots.
Lance Corporal Dunleavy added: “As we were leaving the area, the insurgents were just trying to get a reaction out of us that they didn’t get.”
From the explosives found, what was not required to be taken as evidence for future use, was destroyed there and then.