26 ENGR start reconstruction task in Helmand

Royal Engineers Start Difficult Job
Monday, August 13, 2007
Source: MoD

Royal Engineers are taking on one of the most difficult jobs in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan - starting the reconstruction and development of basic infrastructure in villages and towns that have been effected by fighting in the region.

The Development and Influence Team, known as the DIT, is operating directly behind International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, who have been conducting an operation to drive out the Taliban from an area in the Upper Gereshk Valley.

Local people are warned when an ISAF operation is about to take place and most move away from the area temporarily. Once the fighting is over, the DIT follows in behind and meets the local population as they return to their homes, once it is safe to do so.

The twelve man team of ISAF soldiers is commanded by Lieutenant Richard Keast, from Penryn in Cornwall:

"The main aim of what we do is to get the reconstruction and development effort started as soon as possible after the fighting has ceased in an area," he explained.

Staff Sergeant Tony Everson, from Plymouth, is the team's Second in Command.

"We fit into the operation right behind the fighting troops, we come in, speak to the local population, see what they immediately need and what we can do for them. We can provide the locals with basic fresh water, electricity and help them with basic road improvements."

Meeting and interacting with the local population as they return to their homes is a critical part of the operation. The operation's success relies heavily on the ability of the DIT to reach its goals:

"You might think that the hardest part of an operation is the fighting and certainly from the soldiers' perspective that is the most difficult bit," explained Lieutenant Colonel Angus Watson, Commanding Officer of Battle Group South.

"But the longer term aspect of an operation, creating that environment which the local Afghans will want to live in and improving their quality of life, that is the most difficult thing, that is the thing that really takes the time."

The ten British soldiers in the team are all members of 26 Regiment Royal Engineers. They are responsible for providing security, often referred to as force protection, when the team is out on patrol. They also have the skills, equipment and spares to repair water pumps and electrical generators, providing villages with basic utilities.

The engineering element of the team also identifies simple projects that will improve the local infrastructure; repairing roads, basic bridge improvements and the clearance of irrigation ditches. These projects are funded by ISAF and the Afghan Government, but it is the local population who are employed to carry them out.

The development of an area must be an inclusive activity involving government, soldiers and villagers working together to improve the local infrastructure.

The Task Force level offensive operation, codenamed 'Chakush' or 'Hammer', began in late July 2007 in the area known as the 'Green Zone.' This fertile strip of irrigated land runs alongside the Helmand River between Heyderabad and Mirmandab, north east of Gereshk. Led by the British-commanded Task Force Helmand, the operation is expelling Taliban forces from the area.

ISAF soldiers and the Afghan National Army are moving through Taliban-held areas expanding their control. The Development and Influence Team is deployed into this area immediately behind the fighting. The vital reconstruction and development projects that they identify and start are a key component in widening the Afghan Government's authority within Helmand province.

Source: http://www.modoracle.com/?page=http://www.modoracle.com/news/detail.h2f?id=13954
At last a sensible post from NT, well done.

Do you now see why your work is important and that you will have to earn your medal?

I did a double take when I saw the post earlier on in the evening. Couldn't believe my eyes. As NT had a brain fart? :D
Hopefully this will be the thing that ultimately scores the goals in the hearts and minds game.

*Crack* last rifle shot..

'So my man, before I was rudely interrupted.. what would you like, a bit drainage? roads? bit of the old electrickery? You name it, we'll organise it'


NT. Did you let your Mum borrow your login? :wink:
They've got 3 weeks until the handover, I'm sure we (36) will end up taking over these specific tasks. Although, it only looks like the FPM are carrying that out. I was FPM, but taken off it because of poor PFT time a few months ago.
You'll get a chance to do your bit out there, NT dont worry :D



TP SSgt: 'Say my man, That's a mighty fine Goat you have there...'

Goatherder: 'Ram it. I am not swapping that Goat for NT. I dont care HOW good his cups of coffee are..'
Troop SSGT: Tell you what, how about a storeman - for your goats?

Goatherder: Okay, but only because my goat has a head growing out it's arrse.

Troop SSGT: Ahh, I know the exact storeman to get then..

:) :wink:

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