A long old road....


Book Reviewer

apologies for the intrusion. Came across this today and although it is now a bit old, I thought it possible some people (who possibly worked on the Project on a previous tour) may not have seen - so here y'go;


A Herculean road building project which has dominated the work of thousands of British troops for more than a year is now complete, linking Helmand's two economic hubs and the isolated communities betweeen them.

The Route Trident extension has cut journey times between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk from two weeks to just two-and-a-half hours and seen insurgent attacks drop by 90 per cent.

The construction of Route Trident, which began following Operation PANCHAI PALANG (Panther's Claw) in 2009, has involved five different battle groups and three successive engineer regiments.


The finished route spans more than 12 miles, across terrain ranging from desert to swamp. It crosses 43 separate water obstacles and is made of a surface resistant to the placing of improvised explosive devices.

With large sections of the route built amidst fierce fighting in insurgent contested areas, the construction has gone hand-in-hand with the clearance of insurgents from settlements all of which and are now being developed in partnership with local people. As a result, today the number of daily insurgent attacks along the route is 90 per cent lower than levels seen as recently as late 2010.

The Route Trident project – codenamed Operation LAR JAROWEL – had the original aim of linking the patrol bases and communities of territory gained in the major operations PANCHAI PALANG (Panther's Claw) in 2009 and MOSHTARAK ('Together' or 'Joint') in 2010.

Additionally, the intention was to link Helmand's two economic hubs, Lashkar Gah and Gereshk, in order to generate economic development of isolated agricultural communities between them.

Already, two significant local markets have sprung up along the route and many communities have, for the first time, taken advantage of the Afghan government's seed distribution scheme.

While significant technical skills of Royal Engineers have been employed, both in the design and construction of the road, local civilians have assisted the 'sappers' with some of the physical work. Organised as a 'cash for works' scheme, effort was made to employ workers from the nearest village to each section of the route in order to engender a sense of local ownership of the project.

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Ross, Commanding Officer, 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), said:

"Primarily conceived as a military route, Route Trident has not only delivered security to the area, but also enabled economic and social development.

"Although some communities were initially cautious about the construction, they have quickly become very receptive to the security and economic opportunities offered by the road.

"Now, using Route Trident, government officials can travel from Lashkar Gah to Gereshk, through the heart of central Helmand, a previous hotbed of the insurgency, and the now protected communities of the Babaji valley, in less than two-and-a-half hours. On this same route, less than 18 months ago, it took two weeks and a full battle group operation to resupply one patrol base from another just two-and-a-half miles away.

"The end result of this work is an increasingly secure and busy road linking not only the cities of Lashkar Gah and Gereshk, but also the communities of the Babaji valley. It has been an outstanding example of ISAF, Afghan forces and local community co-operation and has made a tangible and enduring contribution to the counterinsurgency campaign in Helmand."

Major John Clark, Officer Commanding 9 Parachute Squadron RE, 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), said:

"This work has been dangerous, monotonous and challenging in equal measure. While frequently violent at the point of build, with up to six small-arms contacts on the road-building parties per day, it has left in its wake an area of security for the settlements straddling the route. It has also provided a secure base from which the ground-holding companies have been able to extend security into the hinterlands.

"The nature of the ground – desert in places and swamp in others – presented a significant engineering challenge. A good example is the 'Culvert of Doom', where the road has been constructed over what could best be described as a 'swimming pool'. Challenges such as this have demanded innovative and pragmatic solutions that have stretched our technical expertise."

Bravo Zulu to all who took part - less of a headliner than the turbine job but equally vital to the region I suspect ;-)


War Hero
Ah the international rules of road building apply. 5 Blokes leaning on shovels watching and drinking tea. 1 actualy working
Seriously though:- A good thing for the locals and a job well done. :)
do you see MPF saying .... it needs to go an inch to the left gentlemen. ;-)
You can always trust the COW(P) to upset everybody!
Mega! At least the taliban will have a decent road to travel freely on once we pull out.

True, but at least it will be easier to spot groundsign and harder for terry to dig. It's not going to be perfect but definately a step in the right direction.


War Hero
Trust me, I won't go into the details over this forum, but that road (we put in the middle section during H12) is a real step in the right direction as far as the design features go to make it harder for insurgent operations.
Yup, it sure does, started building it towards the end of Herrick 10 if IIRC?