Afghan Police lead their first air assault in Helmand
The Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) has taken part in its first helicopter assault operation in Helmand province, alongside soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES).The operation, codenamed ZANGAL HAF (Zangal Hope) after the village close to where the operation would take place, was aimed at disrupting insurgents in the Nahr-e Saraj district, where the 1 RIFLES Battle Group is based.
Early on the morning of the operation, soldiers from A Company (A Coy), 1 RIFLES, and the AUP patrolmen boarded Chinook helicopters in Camp Bastion and flew deep into the Green Zone, behind enemy lines.
With the AUP in the lead, the combined force of soldiers and policemen moved towards their intended target.
With temperatures rising fast under the Helmand sun, mud-clogged fields underfoot, and endless rows of seven-foot-high (2.1m), densely packed maize and corn ‘jungles’, progress was slow and draining.
The operation took place during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Their religion means that the AUP are unable to eat or drink during the day and that can prevent them from taking part in operations.
However, with permission from Lieutenant Colonel Masloom, who works in Nahidullah, the patrolmen opted to break their fast so they could play a key role in securing the area.