In his first blog, Lance Corporal Ryder of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIAN) – currently deployed on Operation HERRICK 14 in Afghanistan – writes about undertaking reassurance patrols in Maiwand.
This week has been interesting and eventful both inside our Patrol Base (PB) and out on the ground. The majority of the early part of the week was taken up by “Find, Feel and Understand” operations in a village called Camparack, which is to the northw north west of our patrol base.
Most settlements in our area of operations (AO) has been fairly easy to influence and essentially are on our (ISAF) side. However the area around Camparack has not been as easy as the rest, and so it has seen an increase in ISAF presence of late. As a result the villagers and locals seem to be starting to trust us and, more importantly, understand why we are here. The last patrol into the area made it clear to see the positive influence we had are having as numerous locals approached the patrol wanting to talk and get to know us. This is a huge step forward from the early patrols where everyone made an effort to avoid us due to fear of insurgent intimidation.
As well as getting to know the local population, this week has proved to be a perfect opportunity to spend time working with our new Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) counterparts. By working closely with them we’ve been able to see the similarities and also differences between the way we work on the ground. It’s also been an ideal time to identify areas in which we can assist them and help them improve. We have also successfully started to introduce them to the people of Maiwand, giving the local people a trusted Afghan face and the first port of call should a problem arise.
Life in our PB is ever-changing. PB Lashkamear Durai – being fairly new – is a place that is constantly expanding and improving. We’ve recently had an internet terminal installed so we are now able to communicate home over that rather than just using the satellite phone.
Overall the morale here is high, made better by the fact blokes have started to go on R&R. Everyone’s cracking on with the job at hand and we are enjoying it the majority of the time!
It’s good to finally be doing the job we all trained for so long.