Townsville based troops from the the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group (3RAR TG) are preparing to return to Australia from Afghanistan, after handing over to the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Task Group (7RAR TG).
In a Transfer of Authority (TOA) ceremony, held on Tuesday (20 November 2012) at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot, the mission officially moved from mentoring to advising.
Australian troops serving in Afghanistan will no longer operate from Forward Operating Bases (FOB) or Patrol Bases (PB) in Uruzgan Province after transferring control to the Afghan National Security Forces.
Commander Combined Team – Uruzgan (CCT-U) Colonel Simon Stuart said the achievement marks the end of the mentoring process and the transition to operational support.
“All four of the infantry Kandaks are now operating independently. What it demonstrates is that our method, the International Security Assistance Force method, has worked and Australia has been a proud part of ISAF, and a significant partner in Combined Team Uruzgan,” COL Stuart said.
“We are nationally focused on the 4th Brigade and this marks the culmination of a whole lot of hard work as well as some blood that’s been spilt in bringing the Afghans up to a standard where they can do the job themselves.”
The transfer of control for the remote Uruzgan bases is a significant milestone in the transition process and reflects the growing independence and capability of the Afghan National Army.
The handover was completed as 3 RAR TG conducted a formal TOA ceremony with the 2nd Kandak, 4th Brigade at FOB Mirwais in Chora.
During November 3 RAR TG handed over FOB Hadrian in Deh Rawud, Uruzgan to the 1st Kandak and PB Sorkh Bid in Nesh, northern Kandahar to the 6th Kandak. PB Wali in Mirabad, Uruzgan, was handed over to the 3rd Kandak on 7 October.
With the handover from 3 RAR TG to 7 RAR TG, Australia’s primary effort will now be advising the leadership of the ANA 4th Brigade, rather than mentoring and training at the Kandak level. The shift in posture has been made possible by the success of the transition process and the ANA’s ability to plan, execute and sustain independent operations.
Australian Mentoring Teams have spent several years training and patrolling with their Afghan counterparts to bring them to an operationally viable level. Now, the Afghan security presence across the province is expanding and the indigenous force is proving effective against a fragmented insurgency.
“The 4th Brigade is able to stand on their own two feet. Now we have the Afghan security forces, securing the Afghan people,” COL Stuart said.
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12131933
Vision will be fed to the Press Gallery at Parliament House.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999.