Change of Command in Task Group Afghanistan
18 September 2018
The sun was shining in Kabul when Brigadier Peter Connor officially handed over command of Australia’s Task Group Afghanistan to Brigadier Jane Spalding on September 1.
At the end of his 10-month tenure, Brigadier Connor reflected on the achievements of the Task Group’s hundreds of sailors, soldiers, airmen and public servants.
“Task Group Afghanistan has taken on more responsibilities this year, with the addition of adviser teams at the Afghan National Army Sergeant Major Academy and Command Staff Academy,” he said.
“Our Australian advisers are heavily engaged and making progress in these new Academies and across a broad range of Afghan institutions including the Air Force, Special Forces and Kabul Garrison Command.”
Around 300 personnel make up the Australian Task Group deployed to Afghanistan under Operation Highroad, working as trainers, advisers and combined headquarters staff alongside NATO and allied nations. Task Group members also perform critical force protection, medical, logistics and intelligence roles.
Brigadier Connor reflected on the dedication and professionalism displayed by Australian Defence Force personnel, particularly the force protection elements from the 3rd and 6th Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment.
“With a constant positive and understated approach, they have the right tone,” he said.
“Personally, the highlight of my deployment has been working with a team of committed Australians, driving hard to support the Afghan people and each other on this multinational NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.
“We learn from the coalition countries and each other in a fairly complex space. It is a humbling experience.”
Task Group Afghanistan will continue to evolve under the command of Brigadier Jane Spalding, with a recently announced commitment of advisers and force protection to help develop the Afghan Air Force’s growing fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk multirole helicopters.