Vikings soldiers snatch Taliban explosives haul

Soldiers from East Anglia have dealt a blow to the bomb-making capacity of their enemy in Afghanistan after a local tip-off led to the discovery of a 50kg stash of Taliban explosives.

The 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, raided a compound during an operation to disrupt insurgents who are threatening the communities in Nad-e Ali, for which the unit has taken responsibility.

The men of A (Norfolk) Company also found a 90kg bag of opium, worth �38,000, during the operation which military chiefs believe could save the lives of countless troops and civilians from the risk of improvised bombs, while also damaging the enemy's finances.

Company commander Major Matt Woodeson, from Norwich, said: 'The boys did well, relying on their training and each other. With the cooperation of the local nationals and our Afghan partners we have dealt another blow to the ever-dwindling insurgent cause.'

The Vikings have been working closely with Afghan forces since their arrival in Helmand in March, and the compound was identified after local nationals advised the National Directorate of Security (NDS) about the location of a potential hoard.

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Sgt Terry Johnson, 33, whose family lives in Peterborough, led 1 Platoon to the compound and was prepared to move on after speaking to a local elder.

'I was content after liaising with the elder that the area was quiet,' he said. 'As I made preparations to depart Private Liam Downes said he had made a find.

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'We get tip-offs from the locals regularly, on this occasion we had no reason to expect this find was going to be anything special. I wanted to be happy that we weren't missing anything else so I ordered the compound near the find to be searched.'

Pte Downes, 24, from Luton, found the explosives, and moments later the opium, as well as equipment used for filtration of the drug, was uncovered by his colleagues from the NDS the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

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