Australian Special Forces contribution to the International Security Assistance Force train, advise and assist mission in 2014

12 August 2013 | Media Release

Australia, in consultation with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), has agreed to provide a Special Forces training contribution to support the international effort to develop the Afghan National Security Force’s (ANSF) capacity and capability throughout 2014.

Australia will offer up to 18 Australian Special Forces and other Australian Army personnel to the ISAF Special Operations Advisory Group. These personnel will train, advise and assist the ANSF personnel in the Headquarters General Directorate of Police Special Units in Kabul. The Directorate is responsible for the command and control of the Provincial Response Companies and National Mission Units which seek to maintain internal national security, including responding to attacks on Kabul. 

The ADF’s role in Uruzgan, including the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG), will conclude by the end of 2013 with the closure of Multi National Base – Tarin Kot, and the completion of transition to Afghan security lead in Uruzgan.

With the closure of Multi National Base – Tarin Kot, over 1000 Australian troops will come home.

The conclusion of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan does not mark the end of our commitment to Afghanistan.

Australia, together with our ISAF partners, will continue to support Afghanistan through a nationally-focused effort as we move towards transition across all of Afghanistan and the conclusion of the ISAF mission at the end of 2014. 

Australia has considered, in consultation with ISAF, the way in which Australian Special Forces personnel could best continue to support the international effort to develop the capacity and capability of the ANSF throughout 2014.

The contribution to the ISAF Special Operations Advisory Group for the Headquarters General Directorate of Police Special Units in Kabul is a natural extension of the SOTG’s experience in training, mentoring and partnering with Afghan National Police officers from the Uruzgan Provincial Response Company. 

This commitment by Australia of Special Forces personnel in 2014 in support of ISAF’s train, advise and assist campaign aligns with Australia’s commitment to continue to support the development of the ANSF. 

The ADF commitment in Afghanistan during 2014, including the contribution to the Kabul Headquarters General Directorate of Police Special Units, will be a commitment of up to 400 personnel.

As previously identified publicly this will include:

  • instructors, advisors, support staff and force protection elements assigned to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul alongside their British and New Zealand colleagues;
  • the ADF continuing to provide advisory support to the Afghan National Army’s 205 Corps in Kandahar with an advisor and force protection complement. The ADF will also maintain its commitment of advisors to the Logistics Training Advisory Team in Kabul;
  • a continuation of embed staff within a range of roles in ISAF Headquarters. This will evolve as partners prepare for a post-2014 train, advise and assist mission.  Australia’s contribution will also include an Australian command and support element throughout 2014.

Australia remains committed to Afghanistan for the long-term as demonstrated by the Comprehensive Long-term Strategic Partnership signed by the Governments of Australia and Afghanistan in May last year. Planning for the post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan will continue through the remainder of 2013 and potentially into 2014. The actual size and scope of Australia’s post-2014 contribution is yet to be determined. This includes any ongoing Special Forces contribution, either training or counter-terrorism, or both, under an appropriate mandate. 

Australia has also committed to contributing US$100 million per year for three years, from 2015, to help sustain the Afghan National Security Forces post-2014.

Media contact:

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946

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