Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Operation "Royal Thunder"

Never heard about it? No wonder. The operation described in this CTV story got zero coverage in the Canadian print media:
Major cache of IED materials seized in Afghanistan

A joint mission involving Canadian, British and Afghan troops is being hailed as a "tremendous success" after soldiers seized one of the largest caches of materials to make roadside bombs.

Operation Shahi Tandar (Royal Thunder), which took place in the Khakrez and Shah Wali Khot districts of Kandahar province on January 7 to 9, uncovered 138 detonators used for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Since one detonator is essential for the making of each bomb, the seizure of these detonators is comparable to taking 138 IEDs off the roads -- which are responsible for the majority of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan.

Maj. Marc Saint-Yves, Deputy Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, called the operation a "tremendous success."

"What makes this find so significant is the types and volume of materials that were found," Saint-Yves said in a press release.

"There is no doubt that these materials were going to end up as IEDs which would have been used to target ANSF and ISAF soldiers. This would have also resulted in more innocent Afghan citizens killed or wounded."

Soldiers also found 38 pressure plates (switch mechanisms used to trigger IEDs) with wires attached, timing devices, multiple tubes of home made explosives, thousands of rounds of ammunition, a recoilless rifle, a number of weapons, medical supplies, and an extensive list of IED-making components.

The mission "has resulted in the most significant and substantial find of IED-making (improvised explosive device) components since our tour began," Saint-Yves said.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion worked alongside the 42 Royal Marines Commando and Afghan National Security Forces to complete the mission.

It was the same operation during which Trooper Brian Richard Good was killed.

Good, 42, was killed on Jan. 7 when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in struck an IED in the Shah Wali Kowt District.

Monday's press release said the operation was the latest in a series of joint missions aimed at providing "enduring security" in Kandahar.

"We will continue to aggressively target insurgent IED capabilities in order to degrade their IED campaign," Saint-Yves said.

"A find of this magnitude will definitely impact insurgent IED capabilities, not only in Khakrez and Shah Wali Khot districts but throughout our whole area of operations."
The CBC also ran a story:
Cache of roadside bomb materials seized in Afghanistan
What a lousy performance by our papers. They've already covered the bad news in the operation; why bother with the good?

Update: Raphael Alexander discusses...
An Enemy That Wins By Any Means Necessary
Upperdate: More on the UK role--note the Royal Marines at Kandahar Air Field (via Norman's Spectator):
One of the largest hauls of weapons, explosives and bomb-making equipment ever found in southern Afghanistan has been uncovered by the Royal Marines in a huge underground cavern in Kandahar province, the Ministry of Defence disclosed yesterday.

The hidden bomb factory was discovered after a night-time assault last week on a Taleban compound which involved elements of 42 Commando Royal Marines, a Royal [sic, if only] Canadian battle group and Afghan troops...

During the operation which lasted for two days, a Canadian soldier was killed.

The Marines from 42 Commando were used in the operation because they are serving as a regional battle group [emphasis added], based at Kandahar airport, and can be deployed anywhere in southern Afghanistan.


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