SANGIN, Afghanistan (June 6) - ISAF troops have safeguarded the livelihood of Afghan farmers by doing reconstruction work while in the middle of Operation Lastay Kulang meant to clear Taliban extremists from the Sangin Valley.
ISAF troops from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, and the 26th Engineer Regiment dug irrigation ditches to prevent the crops from drying up and decaying in the fields of southern Afghanistan. Using mechanical diggers, ISAF troops completed the work in hours rather than the days hand-digging would take.
"We are entering the main phase of Operation [Lastay] Kulang. What we are here for is to deliver a positive legacy to these people and try to make their lives better," said Maj. Dominic Biddick, patrol commander. "We've cleared the Taliban throughout the Upper Sangin Valley, between Sangin and Kajaki and now we are delivering some tangible output."
The irrigation ditch feeds about 24 square kilometers south of Sangin. It will supply about 5,000 families with a water supply for their crops. Officials said without the water the crops would have failed within the next 10-14 days.
Lastay Kulang, from the Pashto word for "axe handle," is at the request of the Government of Afghanistan. The operation is building on the achievements of Operation Achilles in the Sangin Valley which supported the Afghan National Security Forces.
Approximately 2,000 ISAF and ANSF troops are taking part in Lastay Kulang, which has British, Danish and Estonian and U.S. troops.
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