BORDERS soldiers were among troops from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS), who supported the Afghan National Army (ANA) as it planned and led a recent large operation to clear an area of Afghanistan of insurgents.
The men from the Royal Scots Borderers and their Afghan counterparts were taking part in the operation, codenamed Tuufan or ‘Storm’.
The mission involved many hundreds of troops from 3/215 Brigade of the ANA, as well as the Scottish soldiers who are part of 4th Mechanized Brigade.
The operation also involved Afghan engineers, logistics personnel, police, artillery units and IED experts.
With an objective to secure an area of central Helmand province, both sets of troops moved quickly into and through the desert or ‘dashte’ areas, getting ahead of schedule immediately on day one.
Although coming under sporadic fire from the insurgency their progress was reported as being impressive.
The operation ended with six insurgents killed, one ANA soldier killed, and a weapons find including some significant pieces.
Major Andy Lumley, the officer commanding Delta Company of 1 SCOTS, said: “The ANA have been really quick and they have had very little input from us as we moved behind. They have not really needed any help from us at all.”
Colonel Jhang Baz, a senior Afghan Commander in the ANA’s 3/215 Brigade, said the ANA is now in the front line of the operations and is followed by ISAF in support.
“The main job is run by the ANA and if necessary ISAF supports us with their air support,” added Colonel Baz.
The Royal Scots Borderers are operating as the Brigade Advisory Group (BAG) in the region, providing advice and support to the ANA as part of Operation HERRICK 17.
The BAG’s role is to increase the confidence of the ANA and reduce the reliance on ISAF troops, ready for the end of combat operations by British forces in 2014. Lance Corporal Steven Guest, who provides the force protection to the British adviser teams on the ground, explained:
“A lot of the time the ANA don’t really need us to do anything for them. They seem to be able to cope with it themselves. They do a lot of good work without us having to advise.
“When we go out to the checkpoints they are already doing patrols, fitness – some of them are really organised and switched-on guys.”