Taking on the Taliban

“Cammed up” and ready for action

“Cammed up” and ready for action

Lance Corporal Preece of 21 Engineer Regiment (21 Engr Regt) is attached to 40 Commando, Royal Marines for Operation HERRICK 12. He is presently in Kajaki and writes here about Taliban activity in Kajaki’s Green Zone.

It has been a mixed week of emotions for the ‘Kajaki five’ as we call ourselves.  Firstly, we had the sad news of the loss of two engineers in our regiment.  We would like to pass on our condolences to their families.

The patrols this week have been coming thick and fast which has involved us going out on five patrols.  These varied in type and length from being reassurance patrols within the local area to a fighting patrol in the green zone.  With the harvest over the Taliban activity in our area had increased considerably.  They even had the audacity to shoot at us in a place  which, until now, was seen as a relative safe patrol.  Luckily the rounds pinged in to the side of the wall next to us.

With the patrol less than two hours old the tell-tale noise of AK47 fire was heard.

Spr Chris Emmerson was leading, approaching a series of compounds, and the Taliban opened up through one of the many holes that scar the compounds.  A whole magazine was fired in the British troops’ direction from less than 50 metres away.  Miraculously they all missed.  With the patrol diving for cover Spr Emmerson returned accurate fire at the hole.  The Taliban scurried away into one of the many compounds.  This is a classic ‘shoot and scoot’ tactic the Taliban employ in our location.  As the call sign extracted from the green zone they again came under accurate rifle fire.  They returned it and the contact was again broken off by the Taliban.  Two men were seen running off unarmed and were picked up by a motorbike.

When we are not patrolling we are manifesting and packing the engineers stores up here.  We have had to move out of five-star luxury accommodation to the ‘grot’, which the marines have aptly named.  This didn’t happen without a fight but in the army the old RHIP rank has its privileges.  With the lads gutted we made the short journey into our new home for the foreseeable future.