Taliban Winter Operations Targeted

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2009 10:49 AM
Taliban Winter Operations Targeted In Afghan-Australian Operations
Joint Afghan and Australian operations in Afghanistan are having a significant impact on the Taliban’s weapons and ammunition reserves with the discovery of 44 caches in the past two months.
The most recent cache discovered included small arms ammunition, 55 high-explosive anti-tank rocket propelled grenades and an 82mm recoilless rifle (anti-tank weapon) with four rounds. The cache was uncovered during a routine patrol by Australian soldiers from the 2nd Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF-2) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) around Mirabad, east of Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan Province.
Commanding Officer of the MRTF, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Connolly, believed the cache finds would have a strong impact on the insurgents’ operational capability.
“To uncover one cache in a fortnight would be considered a good rate of find, so to find 44 in a small area within a space of two months is very significant,” Lieutenant Colonel Connolly said.
“Through constant, aggressive and unpredictable patrolling in sections and small teams we have also discovered 11 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“We’re going into winter and it has become very cold out there and this is a time when they tend to rely on their stores, particularly for all the IED components they’ve been storing up, so they can continue to fight through the harsh winter months.”
The patrol was part of Operation Baz Panje, which aims to clear Mirabad, a known insurgent safe-haven, and then dominate the region in order establish a permanent patrol base for the ANA 4th Brigade in eastern Oruzgan.
MRTF-2 has also successfully completed a dangerous resupply mission to and from Kandahar. Operation Tor Ghar involved ANA, Australian, Dutch and US soldiers collecting vital supplies that were essential to sustain soldiers of the ANA 4th Brigade through winter.
Lieutenant Colonel Connolly said the size of the convoy, combined with the ever present insurgent ambush threat along the route between Kandahar and Tarin Kowt made it an extremely significant and challenging operation for the ANA 4th Brigade and the mentoring and partnering elements from coalition partners and the MRTF-2.
“The successful achievement of the mission is testimony to the strong relationships the Australian soldiers have formed at all levels with our mentored 4th Kandak [Battalion] of the 4th Brigade, and ANA 4th Brigade counterparts,” Lieutenant Colonel Connolly said.

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