Afghanistan – 6 weapons caches recovered in five days

Australian Army soldiers from the 1st Mentoring Task Force (MTF1) and their Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts recovered 16 caches during five days of operations from 09 to 14 May, bringing the total haul to 55 cache finds over the period 1 to 15 May.

AK-47 rifle, ammunition and weapon magazine and bag of home made explosive manufactured from ammonium nitrate and aluminium.
AK-47 rifle, ammunition and weapon magazine and bag of home made explosive manufactured from ammonium nitrate and aluminium.
Source: Australian Department of Defence
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The five day haul included six AK-47 assault rifles, one .303 calibre rifle, one 60mm mortar tube, about 45 kilograms of explosive powder including ammonium nitrate, twenty rocket propelled grenades, thousands of rounds of assault rifle and machine gun ammunition, a large quantity of electronic improvised explosive device components including pressure plates, trigger systems, detonation cord, and batteries, two mortar rounds, a set of binoculars, and two hand-held radios.

During recent operations, Afghan soldiers and engineers are demonstrating an ever increasing capability to conduct these types of operations by themselves.

„Our soldiers with their Afghan National Army partners are conducting dismounted security patrols right in the heart of populated areas and that’s where we are having a significant impact on insurgent capability,“ Commanding Officer of MTF1, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Blain explained.

„We use multiple layers of security in the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device campaign including explosive detection dogs, combat engineers, electronic protection measures, and robust search procedures that are proving very effective.

„Every cache we find makes it harder for the Taliban, and improves security conditions and development opportunities for the people of Oruzgan,“ he said. Meantime, the capability of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to plan and conduct operations in Oruzgan Province continues to grow.

The MTF1 is the first Australian Defence Force rotation to provide Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) support to the ANA 4th Brigade Headquarters.

Officer Commanding the Brigade Headquarters (Bde HQ) OMLT, Major Paul Manoel, said that partnered mentoring was delivering critical skills and developing the ANA Brigade to take over security operations in Oruzgan Province.

„Partnered mentoring is paying dividends – we are experiencing real progress in ANA leadership at the Brigade Headquarters thanks to the work of our mentors and eagerness of the ANA personnel,“ Major Manoel said.

„Each day the ANA are moving closer to being in a position to assume responsibility for security operations in Oruzgan Province, however there is still a way to go until they can successfully achieve this.“

Major Manoel said the MTF1 mentors partnering ANA personnel operate in a challenging, but rewarding work environment where cultural differences are overcome on a daily basis.

„The difficulties faced when bridging language barriers are complex, so it’s all about breaking through those barriers to instil the guiding principles of military operations.

„We see great work from Afghan soldiers on partnered, dismounted patrols across Oruzgan and the use of artillery equipment due to the efforts of Australian mentors. „We will continue these efforts and simultaneously work to enhance the skills and confidence of Afghan headquarters and logistics staff to plan, conduct and sustain these complex and dangerous operations.“

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia