Australia – Security strengthened in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan

Afghan National Security Forces and their Australian Defence Force mentors have successfully conducted a series of coordinated operations, in western and northern Uruzgan, aimed at improving the security situation for the local Afghan population.

In recent weeks, Operation Pisho, also known as Operation Sydney, was conducted by the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Mentoring Task Force – Two in the Mirabad Valley. At the same time, Operation Tevara Sin was initiated by the Afghan National Police’s Provincial Response Company – Uruzgan (PRC-U) and members of the Special Operations Task Group. The operations were designed to build on the gains that Afghan and Coalition forces have made in the past year.

In response to local Afghan requests for the establishment of a security presence in Sorkh Lez in the Mirabad Valley, a combined force of 200 soldiers swept through the area using the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Kandak of the 4th Brigade and elements of the 2nd Mentoring Task Force, as part of Operation Pisho (OP Sydney).

The 3rd Kandak Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Sayed Sera Judin and his operations team planned the clearance operation with support from their Australian mentors. Officer Commanding the Australian Mentoring Team Major Brenton Pearce said that while Sorkh Lez was a known insurgent stronghold no resistance was encountered during the operation. “What we need to do now is follow on with development through local and key leader engagement,” Major Pearce said.

A significant element of the local engagement has been the establishment of a Platoon House in Sorkh Lez in the Mirabad Valley. The Platoon House is a fortified local compound, allowing the Afghan National Security Forces and their mentors to have a firm base from which to operate in the local area.

The Officer Commanding the Sorkh Lez Platoon House Captain Matt Whitwell said the permanent presence now there was a key element in achieving the longer term mission. “If we can bring security and development to Sorkh Lez, the people will now have the opportunity to prosper through legitimate income,” Captain Whitwell said.

“Good governance will be able to follow and Sorkh Lez will benefit.”

In Operation Tevara Sin, in northern Uruzgan, Afghan National Police officers from the Uruzgan-based Provincial Response Company (PRC-U), supported by Australian Special Forces, detained an individual believed to be a leading bomb-maker and a close associate of the top insurgent commander in central Uruzgan. This individual was reported to have regularly transported Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components to insurgent groups and facilitated attacks on Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF troops.

During this Operation more than 150 compounds were searched by the Afghan National Police in a single day. As a result of these and subsequent searches, a large number of weapons, munitions and IED caches were discovered.

The removal of these caches through the partnered operations between PRC-U and SOTG served to further enhance the success of the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade and Mentoring Task Force – Two in the Sorkh Lez region.

The Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East, Major General Angus Campbell, said the recent successful operations by the ANSF and Australian troops had disrupted insurgent activity and would improve security for the local population.

“The operations would also reduce the ability of insurgents to conduct attacks against soldiers from the ANSF and Combined Team – Uruzgan,” Major General Campbell said.

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

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