KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Operation ACHILLES was launched on 6 March 2007 by ISAF forces and Afghan National Army forces in order to stabilize the Northern Helmand province. The aim of Operation ACHILLES is to allow the Government of Afghanistan to begin reconstruction and development in this part of the country.
In the past 24 hours, British 45 Commando Royal Marines, and Afghan National Army troops successfully engaged Taliban extremist strongholds and enemy compounds. These ISAF forces attacked the Taliban arms and ammunition storage facilities in the general area of Garmsir.
The Taliban extremists were forced to withdraw, and they decided to move to a location known to be a mosque. ISAF forces ceased firing at the mosque containing the Taliban. After the enemy opened fire from the mosque, the ISAF troops re-engaged them.
Around the same time, other Taliban extremists moved into homes and other locations where local civilians were thought to reside. Again, the ISAF troops did not pursue engagment with those Taliban. The ISAF troops try to avoid collateral damage when the Taiban mix in with civilians, effectively using them as human shields.
“This is not the first time Taliban extremists have used civilians as human shields,” Lt. Col. Stephane Grenier said. Lt. Col. Grenier is the spokesman for ISAF Regional Command South.
The U.S. 1st Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment also continued to make progress towards their objectives in the Kandahar-Helmand border area. This battalion is conducting mine clearing and Improvised Explosive Device removal operations.
Elements of the Royal Canadian Regiment have completed their deployment into the Maywand District and have carried out Shuras to reassure the Elders of their intentions and have started to act as a screening force to block the movement of Taliban extremists.