Royal Marines have recently helped cleared explosive devices from a key route in Helmand, allowing vital access for coalition forces and locals.
Operation ZAMROD PAK 10 took place between 2 and 8 July, and involved Royal Marines from Juliet Company (J Coy), 42 Commando, patrolling on foot, moving from village to village, securing each as they passed.
The route they were clearing runs between Loy Mandeh village in northern Nad ‘Ali district and Helmand’s capital Lashkar Gah.
Major Aaron Fisher RM, J Coy’s Officer Commanding, said:
We were able to clear [the route] of 12 IEDs between the two cities. This increases our troops’ and the Afghan nationals’ mobility along this route.
We provided protection for the combat engineers to eliminate the IEDs, so they could clear the route.
In addition to sweeping the area for enemy activity and IEDs, the Royal Marines held several shuras, or meetings, with local Afghan elders to gather information about the needs and disposition of the local populace:
We took count of who was living where, in order to get an accurate record of the population,” said Major Fisher. “We also gathered information on what the Afghans needed for their villages, and talked about whether we could help.
During these meetings, J Coy also learned about insurgent activity, and, while the commandos did not kill any enemy fighters directly, there were two inadvertent casualties of the operation:
Two insurgents were killed as they attempted to remove IEDs before they could be found by our Marines,” said Major Fisher. “They were trying to hide them so they could be used at a later time.
Sergeant Major Andy Place RM added:
We’re making steady progress and properly managing the results of the missions. This was just another step in the right direction.
With the route through Loy Mandeh village more secure in the wake of the operation, 42 Commando Royal Marines will continue their current pattern of missions, which includes working with the Afghan National Security Forces and regional development in Nad ‘Ali district.