From: Defence Media Centre
Sent: Tue 29/10/2013 12:03 AM

Recognition Ceremony acknowledges Australia’s contribution in Uruzgan

The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley has congratulated the more than 26,500 Defence personnel who have contributed to Australia’s mission in Afghanistan since 2002.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Defence Minister Senator David Johnston, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and General Hurley joined representatives from Afghanistan, the United States, Netherlands, New Zealand, France, Singapore and Slovakia for a Recognition Ceremony at Multi-National Base – Tarin Kot on 28 October 2013.

The ceremony formally acknowledged the contribution of Australia and its Coalition partners to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Uruzgan province.

“Today is about recognising the efforts and achievements of every Australian who has conducted or supported operations in Afghanistan or the Middle East over the past decade.

“I am immensely proud of the work our Defence personnel have done to counter the insurgency and what we have achieved for the people of Afghanistan.

“Since 2005 we have worked in partnership with the Afghans to degrade the insurgency while our training and mentoring has allowed the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade and the Afghan National Security Forces to develop the capability they need to accept responsibility for Uruzgan’s security.

“The Afghan people have shown strong support for their own security forces and growing confidence that the Afghan National Security Forces can confront and defeat the insurgents in their own right.

“The ADF and our civilian partners have made a lasting contribution to Uruzgan with tangible improvements that have significantly enhanced the quality of life for the people who live in the province.

“A succession of Australian reconstruction teams have built or redeveloped hospitals and medical centres; schools; and more than 200km of roads and bridges to enhance health and education and to improve vital infrastructure.

“The Trade Training school has been a major success and has taught a large number of Afghans plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying skills.

“Over the next 10 weeks the ADF will complete its mission in Uruzgan and the majority of our people will begin to return to Australia.

“As this process begins, we reflect on the lasting friendship that has been forged with the people of Afghanistan and ties that we have established with our Afghan and Coalition partners.

“The efforts of the international community in Afghanistan have provided the time, space and opportunity to build and field an Afghan National Security Force and to establish the institutional building blocks for the Afghan people to determine their own future.

“This is the legacy of those military personnel and civilians killed or wounded in the conflict, including more than 260 Australians who were wounded, and the 40 Australian soldiers who were killed in action.

“We will remember them.”

History of Australians at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot

• Australia has maintained a permanent presence in Uruzgan since 2005.

• In September 2005 the ADF established Camp Russell within the US operated Forward Operating Base (FOB) RIPLEY to house the Special Operations Task Group (later known as MNB-TK). The SOTG remained deployed until late 2006.

• In mid 2006, the Netherlands established Camp Holland adjacent to FOB RIPLEY and the facility was renamed Multi-National Base – Tarin Kot (MNB-TK).

• In August 2006 the first of four Reconstruction Task Forces (RTF) deployed to Uruzgan Province comprising both security and reconstruction personnel. It worked on community based projects as part of the Netherlands lead Task Force Uruzgan based at Tarin Kot.

• In April 2007 the Special Operations Task Group redeployed to Afghanistan to enhance security in Uruzgan and was again based at Tarin Kot.

• In February 2008, following a review of Australia’s strategy in Afghanistan and consultation with our international partners, GOAS announced an increased focus on training and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Uruzgan. The Government announced the deployment of an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team of around 50 personnel to train one ANA Kandak (battalion) in Uruzgan province. The core of the mentoring team would be infantry officers and senior non-commissioned officers, as well as force protection troops and assets.

• In October 2008 the first of two Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Forces (MRTF) replaced the Reconstruction Task Force marking a shift from reconstruction to mentoring the 2nd Kandak of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade in Uruzgan.

• In February 2010 the Mentoring Task Force (MTF) replaced the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force. The MTF included additional Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams and gradually assumed responsibility for all six kandaks and the Headquarters of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade in Uruzgan. Note that Slovakia continues to lead on advising of the 5th Kandak, Combat Service Support Kandak, having withdrawn its MNB-TK Force Protection Platoon in November 2012.

• Australia assumed the Base Command responsibility for Multi-National Base Tarin Kot on 24 July 2010. This function is currently performed by a Royal Australian Air Force Contingent that has responsibility for logistics, force protection, garrison and airfield operations at Tarin Kot.

• In August 2010, ADF assumed control of Camp Holland following the withdrawal of Dutch Forces.

• 2011 – ADF assumes responsibility for the counter-rocket artillery and mortar (C-RAM) early detection system at MNB-TK. A counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) “sense and warn” capability has been operating effectively at MNB-TK since late December 2010. This capability consists of a GAMB 740 radar, a number of Lightweight Counter Mortar Radars and associated Command and Control and warning equipment.

• 17 July 2012 – Australian Government welcomes the formal start of the transition process in Uruzgan.

• In October 2012, Australia assumed command of Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U) from US Forces. CT-U comprises personnel from Australia, United States, Slovakia and Singapore.

• October 2012 – Australia takes over security duties for Multinational Base – Tarin Kot with RAAF ground defence and security personnel. The Security Force Element works directly to the Australian MNB Commander.

• November 2012 to present – Another key transition indicator occurred on November 20 with the transfer of authority in Uruzgan from the 3RAR Task Group to the 7RAR Task Group. Members of the 7RAR Task Group are the first to adopt the new advisory role under the smaller Adviser Task Force model.

• In February 2013 the Singaporean Government announced its intention to withdraw forces from Uruzgan by June 2013.

• 22 June 2013 – Singapore Armed Forces exit Afghanistan, a ceremony was held at MNB-TK.

• July 2014 – The final rotation of a 10-person Slovakian Army consultancy team leave Tarin Kot.

Media note:

Imagery of the event will be available after 6am (AEDST) at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131879 A video compile will be fed from Defence to the television networks via the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

A series of fact sheets on Australia’s military contribution to Afghanistan under Operation SLIPPER are available at

http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/afghanistan/facts.asp

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999