Australia — MTF‑2 hands over reins to MTF‑3 in Afghanistan

Aus­tralian Defence Force mem­bers of Men­tor­ing Task Force – Two (MTF‑2) are arriv­ing home to Aus­tralia this week after mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant gains in improv­ing secu­ri­ty and expand­ing the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Force’s (ANSF) pres­ence in Uruz­gan Province dur­ing its eight month deploy­ment to Afghanistan.

A han­dover parade was held in Uruz­gan Province on Sat­ur­day, 25 June 2011, with offi­cial duties for the Dar­win-based 1 Brigade per­son­nel, who made up MTF‑2, pass­ing to the Townsville-based Men­tor­ing Task Force – Three (MTF‑3).

Chief of Joint Oper­a­tions, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Ash Pow­er said it had been a high tem­po rota­tion, with the Task Force con­duct­ing numer­ous suc­cess­ful joint oper­a­tions with the ANSF.

“Through its part­ner­ing with the 4th Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) Brigade, MTF‑2 con­tributed marked­ly to improved secu­ri­ty in the Uruz­gan Province,” Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Pow­er said.

“The Task Force con­duct­ed more than 2,500 patrols, locat­ing approx­i­mate­ly 130 impro­vised explo­sive devices (IED) and more than 380 weapons and explo­sive caches.”

While there were numer­ous suc­cess­es the rota­tion wasn’t with­out tragedy, with the deaths of three sol­diers, two from the Dar­win-based 1st Com­bat Engi­neer Reg­i­ment, and a mem­ber of the Force Sup­port Unit work­ing in sup­port of MTF‑2.

Cor­po­ral Richard Atkin­son was killed in an IED strike on 2 Feb­ru­ary 2011, and Sap­per Jamie Lar­combe was killed dur­ing an engage­ment with insur­gents in the Mirabad Val­ley region on 19 Feb­ru­ary 2011. 

On 30 May 2011, Lance Cor­po­ral Andrew Jones was killed by a rogue ANA sol­dier at a Patrol Base in the Cho­ra Val­ley region.

Nine oth­er sol­diers from MTF‑2 were wound­ed in action dur­ing the eight-month rotation.

“Despite these casu­al­ties, the Task Force dis­played remark­able endurance and courage in its pur­suit of men­tor­ing the ANA to build pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships with the local Afghans and trib­al lead­ers,” Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Pow­er said.

The han­dover marks the start of the tour for MTF‑3, led by 2nd Bat­tal­ion, The Roy­al Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment, and will see the Aus­tralian sol­diers mov­ing from part­ner­ing Afghan patrols to men­tor­ing Afghan Commanders. 

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

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

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