New mentors at Kabul Garrison Command
2 March 2018
A new team of advisors are on-hand to mentor Afghan officers at Kabul Garrison Command following a changeover on February 2.
Head of the outgoing advisor team, Col Mark Ascough said his biggest challenge before starting the role in June last year was what worthwhile advice and assistance his team could give to experienced senior Afghan officers.
“How do I as an Australian Army colonel provide advice and assistance to a three star Afghan general who’s been fighting insurgencies of one kind or another for more than 40 years?,” Col Ascough said.
“How do you value add to his role and mission?”
The team of 11 soon learned how best to help the Afghan officers responsible for the security of Kabul.
“It was listening to what they are interested in learning more about, looking at where our skill sets lay and trying to align our skills to their requirements,” Col Ascough said.
“We’d also look for opportunities to use our skills to help them with aspects like operational planning, coordination, public affairs and information.”
Col Ascough said the key to good mentoring was in the mindset of how it was approached.
The importance of building relationships built on mutual respect was essential and a team mantra.
“If you come in thinking ‘what can I learn today’ as opposed to ‘what can I teach today’; you’ll end giving more because you’re coming in with an open mindset,” he said.
Incoming advisor team leader Colonel Rich Bushby said the was looking forward to building on the work of Rotation 3
“Rotation 3 has clearly left big shoes to fill,” he said.
“The depth of their knowledge of the Kabul Garrison Command’s operations reflects the commitment that they have invested in their Afghan partners.
“Rotations 4 has been well prepared by our training in Australia and are looking forward to the task ahead.”
Col Ascough said it was important to relish the time spent mentoring.
“Enjoy every day you’re working alongside the Afghans, they are committed to fighting this insurgency,” he said.
“Listen, look and trust your skills and knowledge.
“Everyday you’ll be able to learn and become a better officer by working alongside Afghans and the coalition force.”