The head of Canada’s battle group in Afghanistan says his troops are having one of their best months to date in finding stashes of weapons hidden by insurgents.

“February has been particularly positive in our ability to find weapons caches, IED component caches and all the materials the insurgents need to do us harm,” Lt.-Col. Michel-Henri St. Louis told reporters Friday from battle group headquarters at Kandahar Airfield.

St. Louis said Canadian and Afghan forces have been using a “stepped-up tempo” in recent weeks to patrol villages and fields in the Panjwaii district, culminating in a major search operation last week that involved close to 3,000 troops.

Some of the recent finds include a collection of 14 brand new AK-47 assault rifles, artillery shells, mortar shells and scrap metal used to make IEDs. Also discovered was an air-defence machine-gun capable of bringing down a helicopter or plane.

St. Louis said the removal of such weapons should make it much more difficult for Taliban fighters to wage war when they come back to Panjwaii this spring for the start of the traditional fighting season.

Source: Keith Gerein for Edmonton Journal.

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