Friday, October 9, 2009


Welsh Guards - Taliban weakened by our efforts

A Military Operations news article

8 Oct 09

As the first tranche of soldiers from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards arrived home from Afghanistan yesterday their Commanding Officer talks about what they have achieved in the last six months.

Soldiers attached to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards deployed on Operation PANCHAI PALANG 2

Soldiers attached to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards deployed on Operation PANCHAI PALANG 2 carry a wounded soldier to a waiting Black Hawk Medevac helicopter after a prolonged contact with the enemy
[Picture: Cpl Dan Bardsley RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Antelme took over as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards after his predecessor, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, was killed by an explosion whilst on convoy near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province on 1 July 2009.

The first soldiers from the unit returned home to their base in Aldershot yesterday - see Related News >>> - and, due to return home from Afghanistan himself shortly, Lt Col Antelme has described the achievements of the battalion, including their role in Operation PANCHAI PALANG. He said:

"As the Afghan evenings begin to cool and autumn approaches the thoughts of the men and women of the Welsh Guards Battle Group begin to turn to home. It has been a long and at times difficult summer, friends have been made and sadly others lost.

"But as the first elements of the Grenadier Guards begin to arrive in Afghanistan to replace us, naturally we all look forward to our return. Loved ones nearby, a holiday, a beer, will all be cherished afresh. In the meantime, as work continues in this forbidding land, it is worth reflecting on what has been achieved by these indefatigable Warriors of Wales.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Antelme

Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Antelme, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards
[Picture: Cpl Steve Wood RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

"The Welsh Guards began their tour of duty continuing the work of their predecessors. This involved clearing the Taliban from the centre of the area known as Nad e-Ali and building relationships with the local people.

"It was tough but satisfying work: empty shops have now been replaced with bustling businesses; the Afghan Army, Police and the Governor work together in a way that was previously unimaginable; wheat distribution is shortly to take place and progress is tangible.

"The battalion was soon called upon to support the 19 Brigade advance to clear the Taliban stronghold of Babaji, an operation called PANCHAI PALANG.

"The Welsh Guards were tasked to block any enemy escaping across the notorious Shamalan Canal and the Battle Group saw some of the fiercest fighting of the summer. In spite of heavy casualties they never took a backward step and the Taliban were left considerably weakened by their efforts...

Great story with insights into what the Welsh Guards were doing. Go read the rest here.

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