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● Returning fi re I... rounds roar out of a 81mm
mortar as Charlie Company return fi re during a
Taleban rocket attack on their base near Kajaki
IN THE dead of the Afghan
April which fi nally the Allied peacemakers.
night, a mortar belches fi re
wrested control of the To put the kibosh on
and steel.
town and environs from such activities, Bravo
the Taleban. Company patrols daily
Seconds earlier rockets had
Where once terror alongside Afghan soldiers
smashed into the forward outpost of
thrived, today it is trade. and police.
Charlie Company, 40 Commando,
Sangin used to lie on Two units – 5 and 6
near the village of Kajaki in north-
one of the key supply Troop – push through
east Helmand.
routes for the Taleban’s the suburbs and into
A fi re team reponds in an instant,
drug and arms trade, but the fi elds of maize which
taking cover as its 81mm mortar
since the Royals strangled surround Sangin, while
unleashes a hail of death and
that lifeline in the spring, their comrades in 4 Troop
more regular business provide a reassuring
It’s all in a day’s work for the green
has resumed in the presence in the town
berets in Afghanistan.
town. centre and around the
The men of 40 Commando are
The fundamentalists were market.
scattered across Helmand province,
driven out of Sangin by the Royals But as soon as contact is made with
the sharpest blade of 52 Infantry
before the Royal Anglians replaced the Taleban, the three forces converge.
Brigade – Britain’s commitment to
them to maintain the security It became clear as the commandos
the international peacekeeping effort situation. patrolled through the fi elds that their
in this war-torn land. Now the green berets have returned, movements were being observed by
To the south of Kajaki, the lads of the once silent streets buzz with the the insurgents.
Bravo are safeguarding the district noise of Sangin’s daily bazaar. The gravest threat the green berets
centre of Sangin. But that does not mean that the face is the ‘improvised explosive
A year ago, Sangin was the scene enemy is not here. Outside the device’ – a bomb, be it a suicide bomb,
of bitter clashes between commandos town, the Taleban make their odious roadside explosive or booby trap.
and insurgents, culminating in two presence felt, putting pressure on For that reason anyone suspicious
months of fi ghting in March and locals not to support and work with is stopped a good distance from the
● Returning fi re II... (Below) A commando engages Taleban forces with a .50 calibre heavy machine-gun high
above the Helmand valley and (left) a Royal pauses briefl y during a search of a former insurgent stronghold
es: po(phot) jim gibson, 40 commando
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