Change of command in Kabul
5 December 2017
A change of leadership has occurred in Kabul with command of Task Group Afghanistan passing from Brigadier Michael Prictor to Brigadier Peter Connor on November 25.
During his 12 months in the position Brigadier Prictor said he’d seen an invigoration in the Afghan military leadership.
“The Corps Commander in Helmand is very aggressive, so too is the corps commander in Kandahar,” he said.
“They’ve really been going after the Taliban.”
As an aviation officer, Brigadier Prictor took a personal interest in the work of Australians mentoring Afghans as part of NATO’s Train Advise Assist Command – Air.
“We’re helping build an air force from the ground up,” he said.
“They have 165 aircraft now and they’re building up to 370.”
Brigadier Prictor also oversaw Australian assistance with the serviceability of the Afghan Air Force’s helicopter fleet.
“When I arrived the Mi-17 helicopter fleet had problems,” he said.
“They were looking at having about nine helicopters available next year.
“Over about six months we turned it around; it’s now going to be in good shape with about 35 helicopters available next year.”
For his successor, Brigadier Prictor said it was important to let the public know about the ADF’s ongoing assistance to Afghanistan.
“There is great interest in Australia about what is happening with the mission,” he said.
“We need to keep people informed.
“We need to stay engaged upwards and outwards, and we need to make sure the decisions that are being made are good decisions.”
New Task Group commander Brigadier Peter Connor, who has previously deployed to Solomon Islands, said he was looking forward to his nine months in the job.
“Command is something we should all aspire to and to be given that opportunity on operations is especially humbling,” he said.
“I’m just amazed at how many different countries there are working here.
“I have a bias for action. I look forward to working and serving with everyone here.
“We’re here to deliver and that’s the attitude I see here.”