9 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-162

Operation Achilles covering more ground

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – At 8 a.m. this morning, Task Force Uruzgan, comprised mostly of Dutch Forces, and Afghan National Security Forces started their manoeuvre towards the Uruzgan – Helmand border in support of Operation Achilles. Their mission is to provide a security cordon to limit Taliban extremist movement and this group’s ability to leave the Northern Helmand region.

In their continued efforts to foster strong relations with the local population, the Australian Reconstruction Task Force and Dutch Forces are carrying on their daily interactions with Afghans and village Elders while supporting Operation Achilles.

The Kandahar-based Dutch air support element composed of F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters support ground troops through their vital and precision close air operations.  They have been instrumental in disturbing several Taliban extremist firing positions throughout Helmand. Additionally, a Dutch Infantry Company is also supporting Operation Achilles by increasing their patrols throughout Kandahar Province.

Yesterday, a U.S. trained Afghan National Police element in Zabul planned and conducted a very successful mission in Qalat City. Unaided, they raided a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making facility and arrested 12 Taliban extremists.

“The first few days of any operation are critical to the success of the mission. I am very pleased with how Operation Achilles is unfolding and we are making deliberate progress,” stated Major General Ton van Loon, Commander of Regional Command (South).  “I am especially pleased with how the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been performing.  Early successes such as capturing a senior Taliban extremist leader wearing a burqa and the disruption of an IED-making facility in Zabul are tangible examples of ANSF operational capabilities.”

Operation Achilles was launched March 6, 2007 by ISAF and the Afghan National Army in order to stabilize the Northern Helmand province to allow the Government of Afghanistan to begin the reconstruction and development of this part of the country.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/