Home' Army News : February 2nd 2012 Contents "
caches is a
significant hit to
because it means
they haven't got
them when the
season comes up.
-- Lt Chris Leeds, MTF 3
Army February 2, 2012
FOR the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF) to
reach a point of full inde-
pendence, they will need
to not only conduct operations at
the individual unit level, but also
coordinate with other government
This capability was put to the
test in a recent ANSF-run patrol
near the village of Musazai in
the Mirabad Valley, east of the
Australian main base at Tarin Kot.
Locals increasingly assist the
Afghan National Police (ANP) with
information leading to the capture
of insurgents and their hidden IEDs
and weapons caches. When it comes
time to act on the information, the
ANP must often call upon the addi-
tional manpower and firepower of
the Afghan National Army (ANA)
The Musazai cordon and search
operation was primarily aimed at
disrupting the IED threat in the
area, according to MTF 3's A Coy
Operational Mentor Liaison Team
commander, Lt Chris Leeds, who
partnered with the ANSF for the
"The ANP and the ANA worked
together using the ANP's ability
to gather information and with the
ANA assisting them and acting on
it," he said.
"The intelligence was from the
ANP, so consequently the ANP
wanted to carry out an operation
and, together with the ANA, we
assisted them by providing extra
"It was quite successful. There
was an individual detained and he
provided information which led to
the uncovering of two IED caches."
Australian engineers helped the
ANSF engineers exploit the area
to look for more caches and explo-
sive threats. The searches uncov-
ered stockpiles of ammunition,
rocket-propelled grenade and mortar
rounds, as well as more IED com-
With many of the munitions in a
poor state and deemed too unstable
to move, the decision was made to
destroy them in place, while retriev-
ing some items for further analysis
"Especially for the ANP and
ANA, considering they found the
caches themselves, I think it is very
good," Lt Leeds said.
"It shows them that they have
the ability to do it and also makes
the area safer for the locals because
there are less IEDs around.
"Finding these caches is quite
a significant hit to the insurgents
because it means they haven't got
them when the next fighting season
"They haven't got stores there to
fight with and also, based on the fact
that their logistics are quite vulner-
able, it just makes it harder for them
to keep fighting."
With MTF 3 in the process of
concluding its tour, Lt Leeds said
the patrol clearly demonstrated the
advances being achieved with the
training and mentoring of the ANSF.
"The ANP and ANA worked
very well on this patrol -- this was
probably some of the best ANP and
ANA cooperation I have seen in my
time over here," he said.
As Afghan forces continue making strides on the road to
independent operations, Maj Lachlan Simond joins a partnered
operation to look for IEDs in the Mirabad Valley.
A village of
Delicate work: Spr Tom George carefully carries a rocket-propelled grenade, uncovered in a cache find,
to a central point for controlled demolition.
Photos by Cpl Raymond Vance
Digging deep: Australian and Afghan engineers uncover a well-hidden cache
in the Mirabad Valley village of Musazai.
Good haul: Rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds and fuses uncovered in
a cache are laid out for analysis before being destroyed.
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