Brothers in arms
Corporal David Williams, 24, and his brother Lance Corporal Richard Williams, 23, from Trelawnyd were among the group of men from the 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers) who gave the Taliban another bloody nose when they uncovered a cache of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during a search in the "Chai Anjir Triangle" in Nad-e Ali, central Helmand.
David was second in command of a multiple of 12 men while Richard and his team provided security around the perimeters.
David said: "We were on a patrol to clear compounds of insurgents in the Nad-e Ali area when we can under enemy fire. It was very intense and we couldn't positively identify the firing point so we called in the UAVs to pin point where they were."
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been used to great effect in Afghanistan, tracking insurgents and giving troops on the ground a fuller clearer picture of enemy positions.
"Once the enemy was located we went in to the compounds. This time they got away but we soon realised why they put up such a fight. What we uncovered was a great boost to the men," David said.
The troops uncovered 53 pressure pad IEDs, 36 detonators, plastic explosives and 8 kilograms of homemade explosives.
Richard, who was providing security for David's multiple while they conducted the search, is clearly proud of his elder brother:
"To seize such a large number of components in one patrol will have been a real blow for the Taliban. Hundreds of devices could have been made from what David and his men found. They should be very pleased with their day's work."
Richard is the liaison non-commissioned officer to the French Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) who are mentoring the Afghan company of soldiers from one of their Kandaks; a battalion sized unit of about 700 soldiers. The battle group, composed of the ANA Kandak, the Royal Welsh and an Estonian company, is collectively known as Combined Force 31.
Since arriving in Afghanistan both brothers, from Trelawnyd originally, have been involved in a number of operations. The Royal Welsh were initially a second echelon aviation assault battle group and conducted shaping operations in the area they would later hold during Operation Moshtarak. They have been providing the security the local population need to build a future free of Taliban intimidation. They have now been joined by the Afghan National Police who, along with the ANA, will provide security in the area when ISAF forces finally pull out.
The two brothers both talk of how reassuring it is to be working so closely with together.
David said: "Working with my brother gives everybody back home more comfort as they know we can watch out for each other."
David and Richard's parents, Anne and Royston, are understandably proud of the work their sons are doing out in Afghanistan with the Royal Welsh and the ANA.
David is due to return to Wales in May when he will enjoy some much deserved down-time on holiday with his girlfriend Rebecca. Richard, who now lives in Rhuddlan, is also looking forward to getting back to see his fiancée, Rhian, and his son, Thomas who is only a year old.
"Rhian is expecting our next child and I can't wait to get back and see how she and Thomas are."