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04.01.2009 - Operation Sond Chara

In December 2008, 42 Commando, Royal Marines, along with other 3 Commando Brigade elements have taken part in a month-long operation to clear a string of Taliban bases in Helmand Province.

Operation Sond Chara ('Red Dragon' in Pashto, a reference to the Royal Marines' Commando dagger insignia) was an 18 day operation which began on 7th December. The focus of the operation was a series of Taliban-held compounds in and around Lashkar Gar, Helmand's capital.
Lashjar Gar, Afghanistan (google earth kmz file)

British forces involved in the operations were:

British forces were supported by other ISAF units including Danish Leopard tanks and Afghan National Army troops.

Sond Chara image gallery:
(click thumbnail for larger image)

some of the key battles of Operation Sond Chara included:

  • 42 Commando took the town of Nad-e-Ali - in a combined assault which featured helicopter insertions with support Apache gunships and armoured vehicles.
  • Royal Marines, along with 2 PWRR and Afghani troops took the village of Shin Kalay. K Coy, 42 Cdo later staved off Taliban counter attacks in the area.
  • L and K Coys of 42 Commando fought a 360 degree battle in the Zarghun Kalay against dug-in Taliban forces.
  • In the last major operation, the Taliban stronghold of Chah-e Anjir was taken during a helicopter-assault
Throughout the operation, Engineers from 24 Commando Regiment constructed forward operating bases for the advancing ISAF troops.

By the end of the operation, on December 25th, over 100 Taliban had been killed, quantities of arms and opium had been seazed and at least one key Taliban commander eliminated. 5 British servicemen lost their lives during Operation Sond Chara.

Further reading:
the times | press association | bbc news | ministry of defence report

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