Around 100 of the current 300 Australian troops deployed to Afghanistan are about to be brought home.
FILE PHOTO (November 2019): An Australian Army Guardian Angel provides security while officer cadets at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy receive instruction at Qargha, Afghanistan. Photo by Leading Seaman Craig Walton.
Australian troops will be withdrawn from the Train, Advise and Assist Command – Air (TAAC-Air), Command Staff Academy, Sergeant Major’s Academy and national support functions.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australia’s role in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission was evolving in recognition of progress made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
“The success of these training efforts is a credit to the high quality and expertise of Australian Defence Force personnel.
“The ADF has been integral to the development of a modern and effective Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and I want to thank our Australian personnel for the expertise they have brought to their respective missions.
“While Australia’s contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission will continue, elements of the ADF’s support have transitioned to reflect the progress made by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, and the Afghan government’s evolving requirements.”
Minister Reynolds said Australia’s role with the Command Staff Academy and Sergeant Major’s Academy has ended, reflecting the growing competency of Afghan trainers within those training institutions.
“A small team of mentors and trainers will remain to train Afghan military leaders through the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
“Australia’s support to the Afghan Air Force has shifted from providing tactical advice to the delivery of strategic advice.
“Two Australian advisers will continue to assist the Afghan Air Force by delivering support to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.”
“Since 2001, Australia’s mission in Afghanistan has been to support the Afghan Government* help contain the threat from international terrorism and support the development of a capable and sustainable defence force**,” Minister Reynolds said.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: CONTACT is pretty sure that in 2001, Australia’s and our ally’s objective was to remove the Afghan government (Taliban) from office and destroy them as our sworn enemy. In fact, following the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Afghanistan didn’t have a government until after parliamentary and provincial council elections held on 18 September 2005, with results delayed until 12 November.
**Also, NATO’s Operation Resolute support, and Australia’s Operation Highroad (the mentoring mission), commenced just five years ago, on 1 January 2015. Before that – for 14 years – everyone was on a combat footing.
“In this time, the ADF has mentored the 4th Brigade in Tarin Kowt, Uruzghan, advised the 205th Corps in Kandahar, contributed to the development of the Afghan Special Security Forces and the raising of the Afghan Air Force.
“Australian forces have also supported the training and advising of more than 2500 Afghan officers through the Command Staff Academy and more than 600 soldiers at the Sergeant Major Academy.
“In April 2020, the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, where the ADF continues to provide support, will see its 5000th officer graduate.
“Australia will continue to contribute around 200 personnel to Operation Highroad, which is the ADF commitment to the NATO-led train, advise and assist Resolute Support Mission.”