Friday, 16 November 2007

News:British Troops Push North Into Musa Qaleh

Source: MOD News

British troops launched an offensive on the 14th and have pushed forward into the area around the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qaleh.

The town of Musa Qaleh, located in the north of Helmand Province, was taken by ISAF forces in the autumn of 2006 and handed over to the control of local Afghan's.

Local Afghan's held the town for 143 days before the Taliban launched an offensive, retook the town.

Marines from 40 Commando and soldiers from Right Flank Scots Guards using Warrior and Mastiff Armoured Vehicles are back on patrol in the area outside the town, and are conducting aggresive patrols.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eaton explained the latest planned offensive:

"This is part of a longer term strategy to keep the Taliban unsettled and confused. We have frustrated them in what they consider to be their heartland by manoeuvring into the area, and by disrupting their resupply and other operations."

He added

"It is also crucial to be able to tell local Afghans, ‘ISAF is here at the invitation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to support you and that we are going to help remove the Taliban from your homes and your lives'."

He summed up the operation:

"The Taliban are not wanted in Musa Qaleh, something the local Afghans have made clear before and we will continue to maintain a presence in the area to show them that they have the support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and ISAF."

This latest operation began two weeks ago with Bravo Company from 40 Commando Royal Marines pushing north in Viking armoured vehicles, driving across the Helmand river north of Sangin, creating a bridgehead for the Scots Guards convoy.

According to reports there have been on and off contact with the Taliban who have attacked British forces with rockets, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

British troops have been carrying out reconnaissance patrols in an effort to carry out "hearts and minds" operations as well as conducting aggresive patrols.

The patrol is supported by soldiers from B Squadron Kings Royal Hussars in Mastiff armoured vehicles and by 105 mm guns served by men from 4 Regiment Royal Artillery. The patrol is supported by an Immediate Replenishment Group and additional supplies are flown in by air as and when required. The operation is at Battlegroup level and is being commanded by 40 Commando.

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