SOLDIERS from the region due to return shortly from Afghanistan have destroyed a major Taliban bomb stockpile.
Troops from the Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL), based at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire, discovered a significant cache of explosives and bomb-making equipment in a dawn raid on an enemy compound.
Soldiers from the QRL-led Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) were inserted by helicopter into the Taliban base in the Nad ‘Ali region of Helmand after receiving intelligence.
Searching alongside Afghan troops, they discovered more than 200kgs of home-made explosives, as well as a large quantity of remote controls and pressure plates used for triggering deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The teams also found a motorbike packed with explosives intended to be used as a suicide bomb.
The operation, which saw the QRL work shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues from the Afghan National Army, marks a successful end to their six-month tour on Operation Herrick 17.
The operation was conducted jointly as part of a handover with the incoming 1 Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force, made up of soldiers from the Household Cavalry Regiment and 4 Battalion the Rifles, as well as specialists from other units.
Major Adam Foden, commanding officer of the outgoing 4 Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said: “We have remained at high readiness for seven months and have deployed 40 times, seizing 1,700kgs of insurgent explosives in all.
“This operation enabled my officers and soldiers to hand over responsibility for our task and to make sure the new team are as ready as they can be for their role.
“It went completely to plan; we were at the target for three hours and have had an impact on IED construction in the Nad ‘Ali area.”
When asked about returning to the UK at the end of April, Maj Foden added: “It has been a rewarding tour, but the guys are keen to get home and be with their families.”
The Army said the soldiers from QRL would arrive back at Catterick Garrison within the next few weeks.