Australian advisors see significant progress in Afghan Army HQ
19 March 2013
While the majority of Australian forces are advising the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army (ANA) 205th Hero Corps in Uruzgan province, a small team is providing support and assistance to the 205th Hero Corps Headquarters in Kandahar.
Australian and United States personnel comprise the 205th Corps Advisory Team (205 CAT), who are responsible for developing ANA skills, knowledge and effectiveness at the division and corps levels.
Commander of the 205 CAT Colonel John Shanahan said his team is seeing significant progress during the last phase of transition.
“We are quickly moving forward in the staff planning, coordination and execution of operations. The general coordination between 205 CAT, the ANA and ISAF has also been exceptional,” Colonel Shanahan said.
“I’m in the lucky position whereby I spend an awful lot of time with Corps Commander General Abdul Hamid, and he is very appreciative of the ISAF contribution to Afghanistan, and the way 205 CAT advises, assists and is part of the team he is developing to become an independent brigade and corps by the end of next year,” he added.
Advisors from 205 CAT travel a short distance to Camp Hero everyday to liaise with their Afghan counterparts. Security and escort support is provided by the Force Protection Platoon from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Task Group (7 RAR TG).
Soldiers of the Adelaide based infantry battalion are attached to 205 CAT on a rotational basis, to protect Coalition advisors during meetings, briefs and tasks within Camp Hero.
“For most of last year we provided our own force protection. Using our own mentors for the job meant we had to halve our output, 3RAR TG provided a force protection element at the end of 2012 and now we have 7 RAR TG’s assistance, this has enabled us to double our output.
“7 RAR TG have made it more secure, the environment is really good and they have been exceptional in the way they have interacted with the ANA and also the 205 CAT mentors. I have been extremely impressed with the men here,” Colonel Shanahan said.
Private Justin Evans is one of the 7 RAR TG soldiers who provide security for 205 CAT personnel.
“Once we get into Hero we will walk them in, make sure everything is secure and they will go in for their meetings, briefs and various tasks. While they are there, we maintain situational awareness and constant communication with our command post,” Private Evans said.
“I’m proud of my job here, having the opportunity to serve my country and go on operations, and I’m very happy to be working with a great bunch of guys in the force protection platoon,” he said.
205th Hero Corps maintains the overarching security responsibility for Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Daykundi and consists of four Brigades, along with garrison and supporting units.