Saturday, 24 April 2010

Department of Defence Media Mail List - MSPA 132/10

Australian Special Forces soldiers will conduct a special Anzac Day service in the town of Gizab, in Orzgan province, after concluding a battle several days ago to rescue a town from the Taliban.

The Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG), who cannot be named for security reasons, will address the special force soldiers currently in Gizab at a dawn service.

Lieutenant Colonel P said it would be a proud moment for Australian soldiers to conduct an Anzac Day service on the battlefield just as their forefathers did 95 years ago.

“To be standing on ground recently taken from the enemy by Australian soldiers supporting local Afghans, who have risen against the Taliban, is a great privilege.
“What has happened during the battle for Gizab over the past few days is a clear example that there are good people who refuse to be intimidated by the Taliban and have taken action to stand up for their rights and freedoms.
“It is also an example for other Afghan communities to follow and demonstrates that with the support of the Government of Afghanistan, we can succeed in making this country a better place.

“I will be telling the soldiers in Gizab that the Anzac spirit is about courage, boldness and perseverance, bound together by the ties of mateship. The SOTG has demonstrated these values through their actions under fire at Gizab,” Lieutenant Colonel P said.

On Wednesday, Australia’s SOTG responded to a call for help from community leaders in the remote Oruzgan town of Gizab, after locals staged an uprising against Taliban using the area as a safe haven.

On Friday, the SOTG and their partnered Afghan colleagues arranged and coordinated a shura (consultation), flying in representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including Oruzgan’s Governor, Khoday Rahim to meet with the community leaders of Gizab.

As this operation is still underway, no more specific details of the operation will be released at this stage.

Media Contact: Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

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