Allied soldiers launch new attack to clear almost 200 insurgents from Sayedabad in Helmand province.
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Hundreds of British troops, backed up by Afghan forces, launched a new attack on Taliban-led insurgents in an attempt to "squeeze" them out of a pocket in central Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence said today.
Operation Tor Shezada – Black Prince – involving troops from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was described as relatively small.
It was designed to clear insurgents from Sayedabad to the south of Nad Ali, where British troops have been engaged in stabilisation and counter-insurgency operations since the beginning of this year, and Marjah, which has been the focus of operations by US marines.
Some 180 insurgents had sought refuge in Sayedabad from where they were launching attacks on British and US forces, defence officials said. They reported little resistance, suggesting that Taliban fighters had "melted away" in advance.
Improvised explosive devices are expected to have been hidden throughout the area. Lt Col Fraser Lawrence, commander of the regiment, was reported as saying his troops would try to "steal" the town but were "prepared to fight for it".
Reports from commanders on the ground said the operation was progressing according to plan. It should continue the momentum generated by Operation Moshtarak earlier this year, which involved 15,000 Nato and Afghan troops in the largest attempt to expel Taliban fighters since the conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001.
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