View Full Version : Deadly mission to flush out Taleban

01-14-07, 05:25 PM
Deadly mission to flush out Taleban
Jerome Starkey in Kandahar

A Royal Marine was killed when British forces attacked a Taleban stronghold in northern Helmand this weekend, the first British casualty in Afghanistan this year.

Thomas Curry, 21, from East London, was killed at the start of a two-day offensive to clear insurgent positions around Kajaki. Local police said that about 30 Taleban were killed during the operation, which relied on airpower to demolish insurgent positions in the mountainous region. Mohammed Nabi Mullahkhail, Helmand’s police chief, said that another 20 men were wounded.

Lieutenant Colonel Rory Bruce, the British forces spokesman, said that there were no other British casualties. “A number of Taleban were killed, but we don’t know how many.”

The Taleban said that they had lost three men and claimed that they had destroyed a convoy of British trucks.

Kajaki is the site of a hydroelectric dam that, when reconstructed, could supply almost two million homes with electricity. The volatile district sits between Sangin and Musa Qala, where British soldiers suffered heavy losses last year.

Marines from 3 Commando Brigade overran a Taleban training camp less than ten days ago, and ten days ago Marines from 42 Commando finished a four-day operation to clear Taleban from the area around the dam. They also cleared a cave complex and claimed to have killed a local commander. Major Oliver Lee, 3 Commando Brigade’s Operations Officer, said that he was thought to be a man of considerable influence.

The marine’s death came on the day that another British soldier, Kingsman Alex Green, 21, from Warrington, was killed on patrol in Basra.

The Taleban are known to exploit the winter to regroup. But the International Security Assistance Force wants to “take the fight to them” throughout winter to avoid a spring offensive. Brigadier Richard Nugee, an Isaf spokesman, said: “There will be more casualties in 2007.”

5,600 British service personnel stationed in Afghanistan

4,300 Divided between the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar

1,300 Stationed in Kabul

2001 The year that British troops first arrived in Afghanistan

45 British personnel have died in Afghanistan since then

23 Were killed in action

Sources: mod.uk; nato.int