SOLDIERS from the Tigers uncovered half a tonne of cannabis after a three-day firefight in Afghanistan.
The reconnaisance platoon from First Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment were flown in to Pupalzay, in Lashkar Gah, to protect the Royal Engineers bomb disposal team while it worked to find and destroy mines.
Afghans living nearby began to flee the area – often a sign that insurgents are about to attack – and the Tigers and members of the Afghan forces soon found themselves under heavy fire.
During the operation, troops from the platoon searched a compound and found 500kg of cannabis seeds.
Corporal Kyle Denham, 24, of Gosport, a section commander in the reconnaissance platoon, said: ‘We were involved in a real fight against the insurgents, but after three days we managed to push them back and secure the northern end of the village.
‘Whilst we were clearing a suspect compound with the police we found the sacks in an outbuilding, hidden under legitimate crops.
‘It was obviously important to the insurgents, as we immediately came under small arms and mortar fire, however we fought back and extracted the drugs safely.
‘They are now being dealt with by the Afghan National Police.
‘It was a great result to find drugs on this scale.’
The Tigers are the county regiment of Hampshire, and Private Pete Mullins, 20, of Stubbington is a new recruit.
He joined in October last year just before The Tigers were deployed on Operation Herrick 15, the latest stage of the campaign in Afghanistan, and said he felt this fight had a been a baptism of fire.
Pte Mullins said: ‘As a new lad to the platoon I knew I had to live up to the high standard of the battalion.
‘However after being involved in this operation, I have been toe-to-toe with the insurgents and won.
‘I feel really proud of what we have achieved in the operation, and on a wider scale here in Helmand over the last few months.’
The Tigers started a seven-month tour of Helmand in September. They are part of the process that will see control of Afghanistan’s law and order handed over to national forces in the coming months.