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23 Pioneer Regiment

Operation Fingal

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  Operation Fingal - Afghanistan

Nineteen countries are providing troops to the International Security Assistance Force to assist the new Afghan Interim Authority with the provision of security and stability in Kabul. Major General McColl handed over leadership of the force to Turkey's Major General Zorlu on 20 June 2002. During its first six months of operation, ISAF:

mounted 2,185 joint patrols with Afghan security forces in and around Kabul;
disposed of nearly 3 million munitions, 80% of which were anti-personnel landmines
trained the 1st Battalion of the new Afghan National Guard, which subsequently
  played an important role in ensuring the security of the Loya Jirga
completed some 200 humanitarian aid projects.

What follows is an addition by Giles Cooper who commanded the Tp-size deployment between 28th June and 09th Sept 02...

The basic facts are that we deployed a Tp(+) (36 all up, in the main from 522 Sqn and with a Sect from 187 (Tancred) and a Chef and Driver RadOp from 144(HQ)). Our task was to provide the guard force for the UK National Security Element - based initially on 3 Close Support Regiment RLC and then on the AMF(L) Combat Service Support Battalion. Although we were initially seen merely as a static guard force, we were able to get a patrol area from the Germans (who were running the show at that time) and thus do some more interesting work.

Tasks conducted were as follows:

• 24-hr Guard Force to the NSE
• Support to UK RE Guard Force
• Some 70 local patrols conducted (some with neighbouring Czech Paras)
• Wiring in of the camp (a total of some 2 miles)
• Small carpentry tasks
• Constructing inner defences when locals were employed on building tasks
  (some 200m of wire and some 25 knife rests)
• Recruiting and controlling local traders authorised to trade in camp (under the auspices of 'Barlow Traders Inc')
• Local liaison with the Czechs on security matters and with the Germans and French on general issues
• Security tasks at the British Embassy
• Liaison with RMP Close Protection team at Embassy
• Liaison with UK National Bodyguards working with other organisations

Special mention must go to SSgt Steve Mitchell for his endless patience, his work with Barlow Traders, his development of driving policy in Kabul (no easy tasks) and his curious sense of humour; our chef, Sgt Chris Jones, for saving the NSE's cookhouse from disaster (in more ways than one); and my Section Commanders, 'Chinny' Leavitt, 'Big Vern' Matravers, 'Scouse' Beech and 'Daz' Kehoe. Unfair though it is to not mention everybody, I feel that these six
individuals through their leadership, hard work, patience and humour ensured that the tour was bearable, interesting and a lot of fun.

Soldiers from 23 Pioneer Regiment just before flying out from RAF Brize Norton


Maj Stu Woodward of 23 Pioneer Regiment, with a few of the many Locally Employed
Civilians who are engaged on reconstruction work for ISAF in and around Kabul


Labor Omnia Vincit