Afghanistan — Dutch hand over security of Chora Valley

Hav­ing worked close­ly with Aus­tralian forces dur­ing the past four years, the Nether­lands offi­cial­ly passed com­mand of a patrol base in the Cho­ra Val­ley, Uruz­gan Province, to the Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) and Com­bined Team-Uruz­gan (CT-U) last week.

Chora Valley
Aus­tralian and Dutch sol­diers stand to atten­tion dur­ing the low­er­ing of the Nether­lands’ Nation­al Flag at a patrol base in the Cho­ra Val­ley which sig­nalled the com­mence­ment of a new phase of oper­a­tions in the region
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge
First Mentoring Task Force
Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of the First Men­tor­ing Task Force Lieu­tenant Colonel Mark Jen­nings takes his first patrol as com­man­der dur­ing a vis­it to the Cho­ra Val­ley region
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

The Dutch Gov­ern­ment decid­ed in Decem­ber 2007 that its forces would be drawn down pro­gres­sive­ly from Uruz­gan in 2010, and this han­dover of com­mand in Cho­ra sig­nals the begin­ning of tran­si­tion to a new phase of coali­tion oper­a­tions in the region.

Under the new multi­na­tion­al con­struct ‘Com­bined Team-Uruz­gan’ Aus­tralia will work close­ly with our US ally, Afghan forces and oth­er Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) part­ners, includ­ing Sin­ga­pore and Slo­va­kia, to con­tin­ue to build secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment in Uruz­gan Province.

Chief of Joint Oper­a­tions, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Mark Evans, says the Aus­tralian sol­diers will proud­ly build on the achieve­ments of the Dutch in the dis­trict.

“The peo­ple of Cho­ra have seen con­sid­er­able progress in the past four years,” Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Evans said.

“The Dutch sol­diers should right­ful­ly take pride in their achieve­ments.

“Their approach has com­ple­ment­ed our own which has deliv­ered very pos­i­tive out­comes for the local Afghans.”

“Aus­tralia has been their part­ner from the begin­ning and we will now, along with the Afghan Army and our new US part­ners, con­tin­ue this vital mis­sion in Cho­ra.” Dutch Com­man­der Brigadier Kees van den Heuv­el spoke of the sig­nif­i­cance of Cho­ra Val­ley.

“Three years ago this com­pa­ny was here and because of the strate­gic impor­tance of Cho­ra, the Nether­lands decid­ed to stay and mil­i­tary his­to­ry was writ­ten,” Brigadier van den Heuv­el said.

Cap­tain Peter Allan of the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force paid trib­ute to the Dutch sol­diers who had fall­en in the Cho­ra Val­ley. “Cho­ra is a place where the Dutch have suf­fered casu­al­ties but their sac­ri­fice was not in vain — their bat­tle­field is now our bat­tle­field and be assured their mem­o­ry will be hon­oured.”

Con­tin­u­ing Aus­tralian and Afghan secu­ri­ty force oper­a­tions are focused on improv­ing the lives of the local peo­ple by set­ting the secu­ri­ty con­di­tions for enhanced devel­op­ment in the areas of health, edu­ca­tion, and pub­lic works.

ADF men­tor­ing of the ANA, par­tic­u­lar­ly the focus on tac­ti­cal bat­tle­field skills, lead­er­ship and effec­tive com­mand and con­trol, rein­forces ISAF’s com­mit­ment to assist­ing the ANSF to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the secu­ri­ty of Afghanistan.

For more infor­ma­tion on the ADF’s oper­a­tion in Afghanistan go to http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/index.htm

Media con­tact:
Defence Media Liai­son: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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