ISAF Bomb Disposal Team Clears Afghan Highway

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 29 -- NATO's International Security Assistance Force issued the following news release: ISAF bomb disposal experts from the Joint Force Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Taskforce have cleared the road to the market town of Shahzad in southwest Helmand.


The road was littered with improvised explosive devices and surrounded by insurgent positions, and was previously impassable for the local population in an area controlled by the Taliban until Operation Moshtarak. The task took five weeks to complete, with the team painstakingly clearing improvised explosive devices from five and a half kilometres of ground. At each stage, soldiers of Fire Support Company, 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh cleared insurgents from compounds at the sides of the road to provide a circle of protection so the C-IED teams could continue their task."My team and I were tasked to clear IEDs from the area," said Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO), Capt. Ciaron Dyer who commanded the C-IED team. "We were working alongside the Royal Engineer Search Team who was providing a high assurance search of the road so we could then clear any devices and make the route clear for future traffic."Like many of the IEDs in Helmand, the devices were created from homemade explosives, ranging in size from 15-25 kilograms. They were then buried in the road to indiscriminately target ISAF forces and civilians. Lance Corporal Kofi Dzando, a Territorial Army soldier from London who is currently attached to the bomb disposal team said, "As an infantry escort, my job is to go there and make sure the guy who clears the device is safe. It is my job to ensure any threat is eliminated and support the Number 2, who is the assistant to the boss, helping him with his equipment.""The hardest part is when the boss goes out there to do his job," he said. "We don't know what to expect, apart from the fact that we know there is a device down there. It's a hard time because anything can happen at any point."As Captain Dyer and his team move on to other tasks, members of Fire Support Company, 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh continue to provide security to the local population around the area, and ensure the road remains open.

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