AFGHANISTAN – Members of the Taliban’s vaunted Red Unit fled from the 7th Special Operations Kandak Commandos Jan. 15, leaving behind more than 500 kg of explosives.
After a short firefight, the Commandos deliberately cleared the Taliban compound in Faizullah Khan, Sangin district, Helmand province, discovering 488 kg of raw explosive materials, 50 explosive device initiators, 220 pressure plates, 15 rockets, 22 grenades, and significant amounts of military equipment.
“The enemy is not safe anywhere in Helmand,” said General John Nicholson, Resolute Support commander, discussing the future of the Taliban in the province at a ceremony earlier that day.
“We will come after them in everywhere in Helmand to help the people of Helmand expand their security, and try to return their lives to normal. We are here until the job is done.”
Unable to meet a single goal of their stated 2017 campaign objectives, the Taliban reverted to small-scale “hit and run” attacks on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
Red Units are the Taliban force of choice for such high profile attacks. Considered a more experienced and better-equipped force.
The Red Units conduct attacks and terrorize the Afghan people to enable the Taliban to conduct their illicit activities, including narcotics trafficking, taxation of local communities and interstate commerce, and kidnappings.
Discovery of this large Red Unit explosives compound confirms the Taliban’s intent to launch future attacks endangering larger segments of the Afghan population, including civilians.
This is the second significant 7th SOK raid against a Red Unit this year. On Jan. 1, the Commandos liberated five Afghans from a Red Unit prison in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand.
During the operation, the Commandos also destroyed over 1,000 kg of hashish, denying $3.4 million of illegal drug trafficking revenue to the anti-government insurgency.
The Taliban’s former Red Unit commander in Helmand province, Mullah Shah Wali, aka Haji Nasir, was killed in a kinetic strike in Musa Qal’ah, Helmand, Dec. 1, 2017.
Wali was directly responsible for coordinating operations and resupply of munitions, explosives, and materials for the Taliban throughout Helmand province.