Australia — Mission overview about Afghanistan

Paper pre­sent­ed by the Min­is­ter for Defence, Stephen Smith, MP on Afghanistan

Tabled in con­junc­tion with a Min­is­te­r­i­al State­ment on 12 May 2011

  • Why we are there
  • Progress
  • Spe­cial Forces 
  • Chi­nooks
  • Chal­lenges
  • Tran­si­tion
  • US Draw­down
  • Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Reintegration
  • More Bush­mas­ters for Afghanistan
  • Detainee Man­age­ment
  • Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces issue
  • Sar­poza Prison Break
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • Pak­istan
  • Casu­al­ties
  • Con­clu­sion

The Gov­ern­ment and I are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing reg­u­lar reports and updates on Afghanistan, includ­ing to the Parliament. 

I last report­ed to the Par­lia­ment on 23 March, which fol­lowed my atten­dance at the meet­ing of NATO and Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) Defence Min­is­ters in Brus­sels on 10 and 11 March.

My report on this occa­sion fol­lows my recent vis­it to Afghanistan with the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton, to com­mem­o­rate Anzac Day with our troops deployed in Uruz­gan Province. 

I also vis­it­ed Kab­ul to speak to Afghan and ISAF partners. 

Why we are there

Australia’s fun­da­men­tal goal is to pre­vent Afghanistan from again being used by ter­ror­ists to plan and train for attacks on inno­cent civil­ians, includ­ing Aus­tralians in our own region and beyond. 

To achieve that goal we must help pre­pare the Afghan Gov­ern­ment to take lead respon­si­bil­i­ty for pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Afghan peo­ple. We must sta­bilise the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion and men­tor and train the Afghan secu­ri­ty forces. 

Progress

It is the first time I have returned from a vis­it to Afghanistan with some cau­tious opti­mism that we are mak­ing progress on the secu­ri­ty front. 

I have pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed my view that we have been mak­ing progress, but opti­mism is a word I have rarely if ever used with respect to Afghanistan. 

ISAF and Afghan secu­ri­ty forces have had a good win­ter campaign. 

As not­ed in the lat­est Unit­ed States (US) Defense report to Con­gress on “Progress in Afghanistan”, released on 29 April, the Taliban’s momen­tum has been halt­ed and much of their tac­ti­cal infra­struc­ture and pop­u­lar sup­port removed. 

Key insur­gent safe havens have been elim­i­nat­ed and many insur­gent lead­ers have been cap­tured or killed. 

Last year’s surge of 40,000 US and ISAF troops has been wide­ly reported. 

How­ev­er, less well appre­ci­at­ed is the surge of 80,000 in the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces over the same period. 

Indeed, Afghan secu­ri­ty force growth is ahead of its growth tar­get, with its ranks swelling to close to 300,000.

ISAF is now able to shift its focus from sim­ply grow­ing the size of the force to improv­ing the qual­i­ty and spe­cial­ist capac­i­ties of the Afghan forces, such as artillery, where Aus­tralia is lead­ing the train­ing effort. 

As a result of sus­tained ISAF and Afghan offen­sive oper­a­tions, the Tal­iban has lost its clear home ground advan­tage in key ter­rain in the South – the cen­tral Hel­mand Riv­er Val­ley and Kandahar. 

Cache finds have increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly, nar­cotics inter­dic­tions are up and there has been some suc­cess in inter­dict­ing the move­ment of Tal­iban forces and sup­plies from Pak­istan trib­al areas across the bor­der into Afghanistan. 

Spe­cial Forces oper­a­tions con­tin­ue to suc­cess­ful­ly cap­ture or kill Tal­iban lead­ers and demor­alise those who remain. 

Progress in Uruz­gan

Progress is also being made in Uruz­gan Province. 

In Uruz­gan Province, ISAF and Afghan forces have extend­ed secu­ri­ty to areas pre­vi­ous­ly con­trolled by the Tal­iban — from the Tarin Kot bowl to the Mirabad Val­ley in the east, Deh Rawud in the west, and north through the Baluchi Valey into Chora. 

Dur­ing my recent vis­it to Afghanistan I vis­it­ed Aus­tralian troops at For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Mir­wais in the Cho­ra Val­ley, to the north east of Tarin Kot. A group of young Dig­gers told me that over the sev­en months of their deploy­ment, the local Afghans were now more sup­port­ive of the com­bined efforts of Afghan and ADF troops to bring secu­ri­ty to the valley. 

Dur­ing my pre­vi­ous vis­it to Afghanistan in Sep­tem­ber 2010 I vis­it­ed Patrol Base Razaq in the Deh Rawud district. 

In March, Aus­tralian sol­diers and the Afghan Nation­al Army opened a new patrol base – Patrol Base Mohammed – near the vil­lage of Hey­dar on the east­ern edge of the Mirabad Valley. 

A suc­cess­ful six week secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion facil­i­tat­ed the con­struc­tion of the patrol base on an impor­tant insur­gent infil­tra­tion route by Afghan Nation­al Army engi­neers under Aus­tralian guidance. 

Insur­gent activ­i­ty in the area had pre­vi­ous­ly denied the Afghan peo­ple access to impor­tant gov­ern­ment ser­vices and infra­struc­ture development. 

The new patrol base will allow the expan­sion of secu­ri­ty and gov­er­nance into the area. 

More recent­ly, Oper­a­tion TIGER’S AVALANCHE aimed to clear insur­gents from the Kamisan Val­ley region of north­ern Uruzgan. 

The Oper­a­tion was con­duct­ed over 11 days from mid-April onwards and dis­cov­ered 39 caches of weapons and ammu­ni­tion, includ­ing more than 2400 rounds of ammu­ni­tion, 33 rock­et-pro­pelled-grenade war­heads, 11 grenades, explo­sives, IED mak­ing com­po­nents, six radios and opi­um resin. 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

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