The first operation between the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 6th infantry Kandak and the Australian Mentoring Task Force – Three (MTF‑3) has uncovered several munitions caches and successfully disrupted insurgent operations in the Deh Rafshan area near Tarin Kot.
Operation OMEED ATIL was led by the ANA, with support from their Australian mentors. The operation was aimed at degrading insurgent influence in Uruzgan Province and building local confidence in the Afghan National Security Forces’ ability.
The Commanding Officer of Mentoring Task Force — Three (MTF‑3), Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith, said the operation demonstrated that the ANA was becoming increasingly capable of planning and conducting complex operations.
“This operation shows that the ANA has achieved real progress towards their goal of taking charge of their own security,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.
“Thanks to the dedicated and professional efforts of many Australian Defence Force soldiers, I have seen the ANA 4th Brigade’s ability and confidence grow considerably.”
According to the Officer Commanding the 6th Kandak’s mentoring company, Major Nick Hodda, one of the main purposes of the operation was to test ANA’s ability to conduct security operations without direct control by Australian forces.
“The operation exceeded expectations,” Major Hodda said.
“Within a few days, the 6th Kandak was able to independently cordon and search compounds for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), illegal drugs and weapons. Towards the end of the operation we were able to stand back with increasing confidence and watch them take charge.”
The week-long operation was also designed to build confidence between the Afghan National Security Forces and local communities, demonstrating that Afghan forces are able to protect civilians.
“On a number of occasions, the ANA located IEDs, illegal weapons and drugs, independent of mentoring support,” Major Hodda said.
A significant number of IED components, illegal weapons, rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition were discovered during the operation. Removing this cache will reduce the insurgents’ ability to attack civilians and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces in the area.
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