Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gurkhas and ANA work together in Piand Kalay

Gurkhas and ANA bring life back to the village of Piand Kalay

A Military Operations news article

1 Jul 10

Joint patrols between members of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops have seen the pernicious influence of insurgents in the village of Piand Kalay diminish and a new level of normality return for the local people.

A joint patrol of UK and Afghan forces

Gurkhas from C Company, 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, and soldiers from the Afghan National Army cross a recently harvested field during a joint patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj region of Helmand province
[Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

A month ago, following a vicious insurgent campaign of intimidation which included abduction, beatings and murder, many of the villagers in Piand Kalay had fled. Improvised explosive devices restricted movement and insurgents held compounds and regularly engaged ISAF patrols.

Situated in southern Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand province, Piand Kalay is on the route that links the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah to the economic hub of Gereshk and represents a key prize in the struggle for influence in the operational area of C Company, 1 RGR.

In just a few weeks, regular joint patrolling and the setting up of checkpoints in and around the village by the Gurkhas and members of the ANA have resulted in a remarkable change as local people become more confident and have returned to the village.

Second Lieutenant Charlie Russell, 8 Platoon Commander, who has been patrolling the area regularly since April 2010, described the situation:

"Four weeks ago when I used to patrol through the village on a daily basis I'd be lucky if I spoke to three or four people.

"It was an empty village, the locals were intimidated, they were scared to come to talk to us because they'd be seen interacting with ISAF and ANA.

Afghan locals

Afghan locals at a shura set up by the Gurkhas and Afghan soldiers to discuss their concerns
[Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

"Now, when we walk through the village from checkpoint to checkpoint and push out into the Green Zone, they welcome us - they want to speak to us."...

More here.

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