Aussies Mentor Afghan National Army Commanders

At Camp Hero, an Afghan base near Kan­da­har, 23 Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) mem­bers of the 205th Coali­tion Advi­so­ry Team (CAT), led by Aus­tralian Colonel John Sime­oni, advise and men­tor the region­al head­quar­ters staff of the Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA).
The 205th CAT com­pris­es Aus­tralian, British, Dutch, Cana­di­an and Amer­i­can forces and of its 23 men­tors, nine are Aus­tralian. Their mis­sion is to men­tor the ANA’s 205th Hero Corps in key areas, such as oper­a­tions, med­ical and logis­ti­cal sup­port in sup­port of the Afghan Government’s aim of tran­si­tion­ing lead respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty to Afghan forces by 2014.

Colonel Sime­oni describes his role as being to sup­port the estab­lish­ment and train­ing of the ANA to independence.

“I advise Brigadier Gen­er­al Abdul Hamid, Com­man­der 205th Hero Corps, on com­mand issues rang­ing from per­son­nel man­age­ment to oper­a­tional deci­sion-mak­ing”, he said. 

The 205th Hero Corps has recent­ly grown to approx­i­mate­ly 16,000 Afghan troops and has respon­si­bil­i­ty for four provinces in the south of Afghanistan includ­ing Uruz­gan, where the major­i­ty of Aus­tralian troops are based. 

Sol­diers of the 205th Corps have par­tic­i­pat­ed in a num­ber of recent and ongo­ing major oper­a­tions both in Hel­mand Province and Kan­da­har Province in South­ern Afghanistan. They were also respon­si­ble for the pro­vi­sion of secu­ri­ty dur­ing September’s Afghan elections.

Engage­ment with insur­gents is a fre­quent occur­rence for the sol­diers of 205th Hero Corps and the CAT who often work in high pres­sure and stress­ful conditions.

“The role of the 205th CAT is not to give orders to their Afghan coun­ter­parts, or do work on their behalf to sim­ply get the job done. The team sup­ports Afghans as they assess, analyse and solve Afghan prob­lems,” Colonel Sime­oni said.

“Advis­ing can be very chal­leng­ing but we are work­ing with what is essen­tial­ly the future of this coun­try and that’s exciting.”

The work of the CAT is great­ly appre­ci­at­ed by Com­man­der 205th Hero Corps Brigadier Gen­er­al Hamid. After pre­vi­ous­ly serv­ing as the 4th Brigade Com­man­der in Uruz­gan, he has a strong affin­i­ty with Australians. 

Gen­er­al Hamid said he is pleased with the progress of the 205th Hero Corps this year, in par­tic­u­lar with the suc­cess of recent oper­a­tions by the 4th Brigade in con­junc­tion with Aus­tralian and oth­er ISAF troops.

“I am very hap­py, I had a sig­nif­i­cant rela­tion­ship with Aus­tralians and I was very hap­py with them and my troops are very hap­py, they have a good rela­tion­ship and they are work­ing side by side like broth­ers I think.” 

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

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