East Anglian troops taking the fight to the Taliban
Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Norfolk-based Light Dragoons are among those taking the fight to the Taliban in order to protect the safety of 'transition' areas in Afghanistan.
Last week, the Light Dragoons of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) were dropped by helicopter into an insurgent 'safe haven' to search a suspected bomb factory.
They uncovered a series of booby-traps and pressure plates rigged with home-made explosives. A similar dawn raid on a mosque in April yielded the BRF's most impressive haul to date – 250kg of explosive intended to be used against British and Afghan troops.
Meanwhile, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment mounted an operation alongside their Afghan counterparts to disrupt Taliban activity in the desert outside Nad-e Ali's secure Canal Zone.
The 120-strong joint force discovered a �50,000 stash of dry opium – a drug derived from illegal poppy crops and the main source of income for the insurgency.
Major Matt Woodeson, from Norwich, is the officer commanding A (Norfolk) Company, which is the Vikings' operations company during this tour.
'The operation was very successful,' he said. 'In simple terms, you need money to buy lethal aid and poppy is a good way to raise money out here. So to get that amount of opium off the battlefield is a very good thing.
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'Essentially, we are creating a buffer between the Canal Zone and the Dashte (desert). We try to push the insurgents away so they are not able to operate with impunity. We work with Afghan force and we give them the security to conduct the searches and ask the questions.'