Army dog sniffs out
An Army search dog called Chocolat has discovered a Taliban production line for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) during Operation MOSHTARAK.
Homemade explosives, old claymore mines and equipment to make over ten IEDs were discovered by the Belgian Shepherd dog inside an open shop front during a Counter IED team search of a bazaar in the Nad-e-Ali region of Afghanistan.
Chocolat's handler, Private Steve Purdy, said: "The search team was already aware that we were in a key part of the area, as the Afghan National Police had only recently torn down the white Taliban flag that had been flying above the bazaar.
"Chocolat totally right-angled, went in, and wouldn't come back. Normally he would never go out of my sight. That's how sure I was. It was enough for me to pull him back and say that there was something there."
The search team then moved further down the row of baked mud rooms, where another large explosive was identified.
As the bomb disposal expert moved forward he sensed that he was being lured into a trap.
Chocolat was then sent around to clear a route to the rear of the buildings. The team then blew a hole through a compacted mud wall at the back and discovered that the area at the front had been arranged to try and catch out ISAF troops with hidden IEDs.
Private Purdy continued: "Chocolat is special to me as he is the first dog I've trained. He literally didn't know how to sit when I first got him in March 2009. He is very cheeky but a really good dog, really good at his job. He is also a bit of a character. He tends to wake me up a lot in the night just with his toy wanting to play, or he'll destroy something that's close by, like my flip flops.
"Chocolat's success at finding IEDs in the initial few weeks of Operation MOSHTARAK was impressive and the troops really value him and his search capability. He is really helping to save the lives of some key players in the dangerous world of Counter IED."
Chocolat shares a kennel with another Belgian Shepherd called Turbo, who along with his handler Corporal Lino Woolfe, deployed with Fire Support Company, 1 Royal Welsh at the start of Operation MOSHTARAK. Together the dogs are making a vital contribution in the continuing battle against deadly IEDs.