6 Apr 2007

PR# 2007-272

ISAF, Afghan Forces move into Sangin District Centre

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Multinational ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) participating in Operation Achilles, have moved into the Sangin District Centre after a second air mobile assault was conducted earlier this morning.  This latest manoeuvre to put additional pressure on Taliban extremists operating in Sangin began on Wednesday.

Today, combined ISAF and ANSF ground forces continue their advance and clearing operations to flush out Taliban extremists and to secure the many compounds they have used in the past to launch harassing attacks and de-stabilize the region.

Military troops have successfully engaged several Taliban extremist strongholds and discovered a number of large weapon caches.  In addition to capturing and destroying weapons and munitions yesterday, today’s two largest finds include: over 20,000 rounds of small arms, 107mm rockets, mortar rounds, a rocket propelled grenade launcher and rounds, grenades, anti-tank mines, and a significant amount of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials such as detonation cords, wire, pressure plates and batteries.

“One month ago ISAF launched Operation Achilles to increase security conditions in the Northern region of Helmand province.  Achilles is a systematic operation that has increased pressure on extremists elements and that has eroded the enemy’s ability to fight”, said Major General Ton van Loon, Commander of Regional Command South. “Given the ways and tactics of extremists’ forces, we must continue to take great care in the planning and conduct of all operations to avoid civilian casualties and limit collateral damage,” he stressed.

Starting late on Wednesday night, a multi-national force of more than 1,000 troops began a systematic assault of Taliban extremist positions in the Sangin

area and today closed into the Sangin District Centre itself.  The main force for this operation included: British troops from the 42 Commando Royal Marines Battlegroup, Americans from the 1st of the 508th, Dutch with the 11th Airmobile Brigade, the Estonian Armoured Infantry Company, Danish Recce Squadron and elements of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battlegroup, plus members of the Afghan National Security Forces.

“Over the course of the last two days, we have reduced the enemy’s ability to de-stabilise the Government of Afghanistan.  By doing so we are one step closer to creating a secure, stable and prosperous environment in which reconstruction and development can take place,” said Maj Gen van Loon.

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/