Australian and Afghan troops patrol Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province.
URUZGAN, Afghanistan (May 4, 2010) — About 300 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and Australian soldiers from the 1st Mentoring Task Force (MTF1) have conducted a targeted security operation through the Southern Baluchi Valley over the past two weeks to better facilitate Afghan government development opportunities.
Commanding Officer of the 1st Mentoring Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Blain said that Operation JENUB FAYDA ('Southern Advantage' in Pashtu) concluded without incident and highlighted the important role that Australian troops play in training local Afghans to participate in ongoing operations.
"One of the local elders said that increased security would help build local confidence. He said that every time he sees the Australian flag flying he knows his people will be well treated," Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.
"That was reassuring and a fine indication of the great work our soldiers have done in an area that was once dominated by Taliban insurgents."
MTF1 troops and their ANA counterparts conducted day and night security operations through the local laneways, qualas (housing complexes) and fields. Several Improvised Explosive Device components and ammunition caches were captured during the two week operation.
"The operation was a great success and gained community support to construct a new security post that will be manned in due course by Afghan National Police," Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.
"This demonstrates the trust that has been developed in the community by the Afghan soldiers as well as our own." Lieutenant Colonel Blain said that the partnered approach developed ANA skills and has set the right conditions for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to eventually conduct these types of operations by themselves.
"We are progressing down the road to being in a position where one day we can comfortably and confidently pass over security operations to the ANSF in Uruzgan," Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.
"We have been making great inroads in building the competency and confidence of the ANA troops and officers to a level where they feel comfortable taking over operations themselves."
A range of combined MTF1 and ANA surge operations will be conducted over the coming months in the Baluchi and Mirabad valleys as well as the Chora area.
Lieutenant Colonel Blain said MTF1 will continue to focus on providing security and supporting development and governance by working closely with the Afghan Government, AusAID, the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and ISAF partners.