News: Coalition forces conduct large-scale counter insurgent operation near Nad-e Ali
Story by Sgt. Derek Carlson
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Coalition forces conducted a large-scale counter insurgent operation in Regional Command (Southwest) Feb. 27, which involved U.K. and U.S. forces carrying out an aerial assault, with support from the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
Operation Tora Zhemay IV was conducted south of Nad-e Ali to disrupt insurgent improvised explosive device and war-making capability in the vicinity by inserting U.K. and U.S. forces with the support of Afghan National Security Forces.
“[The operation] represented the strength of the bond between the ANSF, the Royal Irish, and the Marines,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. John Harrill, the commander of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, which was the U.S. Marine infantry unit present during the operation. “This operation proved that no enemy safe haven can survive between such strong partners.”
Four U.K. CH-47 Chinooks, two AW-101 Merlins, an AH-64 Apache, as well as four CH-53 Super Stallions and an AH-1W Super Cobra and AH-1Y Huey, inserted more than 250 coalition service members across three individual helicopter landing zones.
According to Capt. Jaden L. Lowry, the division leader for the operation with the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 operations section, ground forces setup blocking positions to the north and west along established U.K. patrol bases, while a screen to the east and the helicopter-borne assault force would drive north from the insert landing zones to "squeeze" the insurgent forces.
The operation was a resounding success,” said U.K. Royal Navy Capt. Paul Shawcross, the commander of the U.K. Joint Aviation Group. “Valuable information on insurgent activity was gained, a number of detonations were made, weapons and bomb-making equipment were found and the population was reassured by our presence. The smooth and proficient planning conducted by the U.K. and U.S. pilots presented an excellent plan, executed on time to the HLZ requested, which enabled the ground forces to achieve their mission.
“This further demonstrates the close link the U.K. and U.S. retain, and their ability to plan and conduct aviation operations on this scale. The coalition continues to support the Afghan population, increasing security and stability and promotion of Afghan security forces,” said Shawcross.
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