The operation was jointly planned by the Afghan security forces with guidance from the 1 SG advisors who are acting as part of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh Brigade Advisory Group.
The Afghan security forces involved in the operation included members of the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Border Police and Afghan National Civil Order Police.
Lieutenant Peter Foster, 1 SG, and Commander of the Brigade Advisory Group attached to a detachment of the 4th Kandak (battalion) of the ANA, said:
This morning’s operation was basically planned and conducted by Afghan security forces. There was a small ISAF contingent there to help with the planning and execution of the operation.
The operation was good. It pretty much fulfilled what it was meant to do. It got Afghan security forces working together, which is extremely good.
The operation was part of an initiative by the Provincial Governor, Gulab Mangal, to clear key areas close to the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah which he considered to be a threat.
It involved 300 members of the Afghan security forces and 40 ISAF troops who amassed to the west of the city in the early hours before stepping off at first light.
ISAF forces attached to the troops provided mentoring and guidance to the advancing Afghan forces and their commanders. The aim was to enhance the effectiveness of the overall operation and develop the skills of the Afghan forces. Lieutenant Foster said:
We plan operations jointly. We give them as much advice as possible as to how to make it an effective operation and how we can interact our assets with their numbers and their face. Essentially we’re looking to give an Afghan face as much as possible, because the Afghan people want to see Afghan soldiers.
Explaining his role, Lieutenant Foster continued:
Out on the ground my job is to specifically mentor the commander. I’ll give him advice and direct him where he needs directing to further develop his soldiering skills. In terms of controlling his troops, that is his job. I am merely there to advise him.
Supported by C-IED teams, Warrior armoured fighting vehicles and aviation support, if the troops faced significant resistance, the ANP and ANA patrolled south down two separate geographic corridors.
Both the ANA and ANP contingents were able to reach their objectives without incident, although the C-IED Task Force was deployed to deal with potential IEDs.
After the operation, the Afghan security forces took part in a debrief session with ISAF troops to review how the operation had gone.
Operations of this nature, which are jointly planned and use partnered troops, are the next step as ISAF moves towards Afghan-led security in and around Lashkar Gah.