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Members of the Afghan National Army have raised their country's flag above the town of Sayedabad, the focus of Operation TOR SHEZADA and once a safe haven for insurgents, but now under Afghan and ISAF control.
Operation TOR SHEZADA, the military effort to clear insurgents from the area around Sayedabad in central Helmand and prevent its use as a base from which to launch attacks, began last week. See Related News.
Led by soldiers from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (1 LANCS), the operation is being conducted jointly with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland to push out and clear villages surrounding the town of Sayedabad, which is seen as the last remaining foothold for insurgents in the area.
Raising the Afghan flag above the town, 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.
At the same time, forces from Corunna Company, 1 LANCS, completed the clearance of the road from Nad ‘Ali to Sayedabad and met up with their sister company who had held the town since Monday 2 August.
Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence, Commanding Officer of 1 LANCS, arrived in the town to see the progress made by his troops:
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 Sayedabad.
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.
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 was extracted by Chinook helicopter as daylight broke on the sixth 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 yesterday, Monday 9 August 2010, involving more than 60 key leaders, tribal elders and members of the Security Council and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
At the meeting, Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence, District Governor Habibullah, and a senior representative from the Ministry of Education discussed 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 checkpoints 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 economic development.
[Read more about the operation(http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/BritishAndAfghanForcesEnterSayedabad.htm).