News story

Royal Irish discover large Taliban weapons cache

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH) recently discovered a large Taliban weapons cache during a patrol in the Nawabad desert area of Helmand province.

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The 1 R IRISH Combined Force Reconnaissance Group (known as Wildcat 10) was deployed on Op TORA BASHA 27 when they discovered the cache.

The commander, Captain Ben Davis, was leading the patrol when he was tipped off about a weapons hide that it was initially thought consisted of four rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) warheads.

Following compound searches in possible insurgent locations, Wildcat 10 then searched a walled poppy garden to the east of the target area. The initial find of the four RPG warheads was confirmed and Captain Davis then made the decision to rummage through the rest of the compound.

After further exploration over several hours, the following items were subsequently found by the recce team:

• 10 RPG warheads
• 6 RPG booster propellants
• 1 RPG launcher
• 2 Russian HE-Frag grenades
• 4 AK47 replacement butts
• 20 new boxes of PKM ammunition (600 rounds)
• 1 bandolier of PKM ammunition (150 rounds)
• a handful of loose PKM ammunition wrapped in plastic
• a handful of loose AK47 ammunition wrapped in plastic
• 5 AK magazines full of ammunition (150 rounds)
• 32 Dragunov armour-piercing rounds
• a Glock pistol magazine full of 9mm ammunition (15 rounds)
• 1 ICOM scanner
• 4 chest rigs
• assortment of wires
• 2 12V batteries for use in IEDs
• 1 LMC pressure plate
• a passport and other INS documentation

Throughout the operation the Afghan National Police were involved in cordoning off the weapons cache to deter any unwanted insurgent attention. The documents that were hidden in the ground contained photographic identification of a suspected insurgent.

Captain Davis said:

This weapons cache is an important find for the Nad ‘Ali district. The weapons and ammunition that were recovered will undoubtedly have saved the lives of Afghan and ISAF forces, and the amount that was recovered would have provided an extremely heavy weight of fire for the Taliban during an engagement with any of our forces.

The find also reinforces to the local population that the Afghan security forces are bringing security to their area in partnership with ISAF.

Afghan National Police representative, Staff Sergeant Yosef Mohammed, said:

It is very good that these weapons are now out of the hands of the Taliban as their supply chain will now be tested.

Published 4 March 2011