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20 May 10. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Royal Marine from 40 Commando was killed in an explosion near Patrol Base Almas in Sangin on 21 May 10. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 286, of whom 252 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 21 May 10.)
“….we don’t want Afghanistan once again to be used as a safe haven for terrorists….” (Defence Secretary, Radio 4, 16 May 10.)
According to US General S McChrystal, the strategic priority in Afghanistan is the development of the Afghan National Security Forces. (MoD, 17 May 10.)
The role of 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland in Afghanistan is to pass on all the battlefield and logistical skills they can to the local Security Forces while living and working with them. (MoD, 17 May 10.)
Camp Bastion has doubled in size during the past year and now accommodates 21,000 people including 14,000 US and 5,000 UK Service personnel. “Compared to a Patrol Base, it’s luxury.” (MoD, 18 May 10.)
RAF firefighters helped their US colleagues to tackle a massive blaze which consumed Camp Leatherneck’s storage yard. The cause of the fire is under investigation. (MoD, 18 May 10.)
Royal Marines from 40 Commando and their Afghan Army colleagues seized 40kg of explosives and equipment from an isolated IED (improvised explosive device) factory in Sangin. (MoD, 20 May 10.)
Changes to the command and control of ISAF in Southern Afghanistan will see Regional Command (South) split in two. A new Regional Command (South West) will be based in Helmand while the existing Regional Command (South) will continue to be commanded from Kandahar. Some command changes will be effective from 1 Jun 10, with others to follow. (MoD, 21 May 10, et al.)
A Sea King helicopter carrying British troops was hit by enemy fire while landing in the Nad-e Ali area on
21 May 10. Some of those on board suffered minor injuries. (ITN, 22 May 10.)
Comment: The Prime Minister entertained President Hamid Karzai at Chequers (15 May 10) when they reportedly discussed the prospects for a ‘peace jirga’ in Afghanistan.
The Foreign, Defence and International Development Secretaries arrived in Afghanistan on 22 May 10 for discussions with President Karzai and senior officials. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/20, 24 May 09)
25 May 10. Upgraded Army Lynx Mk9A helicopters have arrived for use in Afghanistan after being shipped from the UK, and are already being put to good use. The Lynx Mk9As, with their increased fire power, more powerful engines, and the ability to operate all year in the harsh ‘hot and high’ Afghan environment, have increased the total number of flying hours available to commanders. The stripped-down helicopters were transported by C-17 Globemaster aircraft from RAF Brize Norton to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. There, the rotor blades were fitted and familiarisation flights took place before operational sorties began in earnest earlier this month. The Lynx Mk9A is fitted with a more advanced communication system, improved surveillance equipment and the M3M machine gun – a 0.50-calibre weapon capable of firing over 850 rounds per