Soldiers from C (Essex) Company 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment are in the forefront of the current offensive against the Taliban, Operation Moshtarak.
Attached to the Grenadier Guards Battlegroup, the men from C Company are currently involved in fierce fighting in and around Check Point Paraang in the Nad-e-Ali District of Helmand Province.
In fact, according to their CO, Lt Col James Woodham MC, the guys have been engaged in fierce fighting on an almost daily basis ever since the Battalion returned to Afghanistan last October. Since then, in spite of the heavy insurgent activity, the Vikings have brought such a significant improvement in security that the area is already seeing a steady return of local people to their villages where they can begin to rebuild their lives.
The Battalion's achievements in Operation Moshtarak will mean that they will be able to consolidate these security gains by extending their control over a larger area. However, sustained improvement in security will only be fully achieved when responsibility for it is taken on by local forces. To bring this about C Company will soon begin embedded partnering with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. Just as the 2nd Battalion did so successfully in Iraq when they worked alongside Iraqi security forces in the Military Transition Teams, so too now will the 1st Battalion help local Afghan forces bring peace and stability to their country.
It should not be forgotten that all this success has sadly come at a high cost: the loss of Pte Robert Hayes and L/Cpl Adam Drane, killed fighting the Taliban in December and January. R.i.P.
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