Afghanistan explosives haul hailed

British troops in Afghanistan have seized explosives which would have made 300 bombs over the past four months, the military's top officer in the country said today.







Brigadier Ed Davis hailed the capture of the lethal haul which could have been used to kill and maim UK soldiers.



He said: "Since we have been here we have interdicted just over 2.5 tons of home-made explosive, which equates to about two months of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), which is about 300 in total."



Brig Davis, who commands Task Force Helmand and leads 3 Commando Brigade, said 40% of IEDs uncovered by UK troops were found after tip-offs from Afghan villagers.



He said 16 low-level Taliban commanders had been killed or captured since 3 Commando Brigade deployed to Helmand in April.



"Quite a few of the others have moved back into Pakistan so they're not there to command their fighters in the field," said Brig Davis.



"The insurgents are fractured in terms of command and control."



He added: "There is a demoralised and reduced will to fight among the insurgents today."



Speaking to reporters in London via a video link from British headquarters at the provincial capital Lashkar Gar, Brig Davis insisted the British effort to confront the Taliban was succeeding.



He said: "We are maintaining momentum.



"I believe the campaign is on track and, looking back on the first 12 weeks of the fighting season, we very much suppressed the fighting season."



Brig Davis said attacks on UK soldiers in Helmand had fallen 43% compared with the same period last year - meaning 70 fewer attacks each week.



He said the figure was adjusted to take account of the British pullout from the notorious Sangin district last year where more than 100 UK troops were killed.



But Brig Davis admitted successes against the insurgency in rural Helmand could be reversed, saying: "It's still a long way off defeated and still reversible in every way in my area of operation, apart from metropolitan Lashkar Gar."



Prime Minister David Cameron has set a deadline of 2014 for the withdrawal of all British fighting troops, with the conflict claiming the lives of 378 British service personnel since the start of operations in 2001.



Brig Davis said Afghans were fed up of the bloodshed which has hit their country since the US-led invasion 10 years ago which followed the September 11 terrorist attacks.



"The people are increasingly tired of fighting: fighting themselves in support of the insurgency or having fighting going on around them," he said.



"They are really looking for a better offer."



But Brig Davis warned Taliban fighters would continue to focus on launching terrorist "spectaculars" and attempting to assassinate Afghan government ministers as insurgents lost battles with coalition forces.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate