The Australian Defence Force and Afghan National Police recently conducted highly successful joint operations in the Shah Wali Kot region of northern Kandahar, Afghanistan. These operations killed numerous insurgents, including an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) facilitator, Mullah Mohammed Rahim, and mid-level commanders.
The Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and the Uruzgan Provincial Response Company (PRC) operations also netted a large number of weapons.
Commander of Joint Task Force 633, Major General John Cantwell, said Mullah Rahim and his men demonstrated ruthlessness and disregard for civilian safety, firing at the Afghan and Australian force from multiple machine gun positions in and around civilian compounds.
He said at one stage during the contact Afghan and Australian soldiers escorted up to 34 women and children to safety while under fire.
It was during these operations that four SOTG soldiers were wounded (as reported by Defence on Monday 25 October). No Afghan civilians were injured or killed during the operation.
“The soldiers of the SOTG and the PRC ensured the safety of a large number of villagers under threat of indiscriminate insurgent fire before regaining control of the battlefield and clearing the area,” Major General Cantwell said.
“The SOTG and Afghan forces exercised careful judgement in this complex environment identifying insurgents and ensuring that no villagers were harmed by their fire,” he added.
The insurgent identified as Mullah Mohammed Rahim was known to have commanded up to 30 insurgent fighters and for his significant involvement in the construction and use of IEDs.
Major General Cantwell said the elimination of Mullah Rahim, and other high and mid-level Taliban insurgents, would hinder the insurgents’ ability to operate in the Shah Wali Kot region.
Two of the four wounded SOTG soldiers have returned to Australia for further treatment.
Both men are in a satisfactory condition and will make a full recovery.
The other two soldiers wounded in the same incident have returned to operational duties.
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,