Troops from 1 SCOTS have supported the Afghan Army as they planned and led a large operation to clear an area of Afghanistan of insurgents.
Codenamed Operation TUUFAN or ‘Storm’, it involved many hundreds of troops from the 3/215 Brigade of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and was supported by soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) as part of 4th Mechanized Brigade.
With an objective to secure an area of central Helmand province, both sets of troops moved quickly into and through the desert or ‘dashte’ areas, getting ahead of schedule immediately on day one. Although coming under sporadic fire from the insurgency their progress was impressive.
The operation ended with 6 insurgents killed, 1 ANA soldier killed, and a weapons find including some significant pieces. The operation also involved Afghan engineers, logistics personnel, police, artillery units and IED experts.
Major Andy Lumley, Officer Commanding Delta Company, 1 SCOTS, said:
The ANA have been really quick and they have had very little input from us as we moved behind. They have not really needed any help from us at all.
Colonel Jhang Baz, a senior Afghan Commander in the ANA’s 3/215 Brigade, said:
The ANA is in the front line of the operations and they are followed by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) who support us. The main job is run by the ANA and if necessary ISAF supports us with their air support.
1 SCOTS are operating as the Brigade Advisory Group (BAG) in the region, providing advice and support to the ANA as part of Operation HERRICK 17. The BAG’s role is to increase the confidence of the ANA and reduce the reliance on ISAF troops, ready for the end of combat operations by British forces in 2014.
Lance Corporal Steven Guest, who provides the force protection to the British adviser teams on the ground, said:
A lot of the time the ANA don’t really need us to do anything for them. They seem to be able to cope with it themselves. They do a lot of good work without us having to advise.
When we go out to the checkpoints they are already doing patrols, fitness - some of them are really organised and switched on guys.