Mentoring mission changes hands in Afghanistan

TOWNSVILLE based soldiers are now training and mentoring the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade, 205 Hero Corps after a recent Transfer of Authority ceremony in Tarin Kot.

A mentoring task force based on the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, have replaced approximately 730 Brisbane-based personnel from 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR), who have returned home after a five month deployment as Mentoring Task Force – Four (MTF-4).

The new task force took on the responsibility at the official Transfer of Authority ceremony held at Multi National Base – Tarin Kot on 24 June 2012.

The ADF has moved to change the task force name from the Mentoring Task Force to 3RAR Task Group (TG) to accord with ISAF naming conventions for transition.

Lieutenant Colonel Kahlil Fegan, Commanding Officer of MTF-4, said his team had helped the ANA make significant progress in the past five months.

“Security across Uruzgan province has improved as a result of the increased confidence and competence of the ANA 4th Brigade and its Spring Offensive was particularly successful,” LTCOL Fegan said.

LTCOL Fegan said the relationship between MTF-4 personnel and their 4th Brigade colleagues had been integral to the success of the mission.

“Our mentoring relationship was based on mutual respect, trust and friendship,” he said

“This trust and respect was forged in combat and in the face of adversity – the manner in which Australian and Afghan soldiers went to great lengths to protect each other from unnecessary risk has been most impressive.”

“Working with the ANA and seeing its steady progress has proved to be a highlight for many of our soldiers.”

LTCOL Fegan said the steady progress has put the 4th Brigade in a good position to take responsibility for security in the province.

“I am confident that the ANA 4th Brigade will be ready for transition to security lead in accordance with the established timelines,” he said.

“I am immensely proud of the work my men and women have achieved in building the confidence and competence of the 4th Brigade.

“Several successful recent clearance operations led by the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) are testament to the growing capability of the Afghan National Army, not to mention the dedication and hard work of its mentors.”

LTCOL Fegan said the planning, building and manning of a new Patrol Base at Chaka Juy in eastern Uruzgan province was of particular importance.

“The ANA 4th Brigade determined a need to secure a key supply route from Tarin Kot to Khas Uruzgan, and as a result they established a Patrol Base along the route,” he said.

“They have since manned the Patrol Base and it is clear that their presence is having a positive effect on security in the area with an increase in local traffic security along the route.

“MTF-4 personnel assisted in upgrading the route, transporting stores and equipment, provided specialist trade skills at the build site and mentored security patrols in the area.”

The Brisbane-based 8/9 RAR leave the mission in good hands, with 3RAR soldiers, led by LTCOL Trent Scott, already on the job.

“I have no doubt that the new Task Force will continue to build on the good relationship established by all those before them,” LTCOL Fegan said.

“It has been a rewarding deployment and our men and women are looking forward to returning to their loved ones.”

Media Notes:
Imagery is available from the following link: http://images.defence.gov.au/11123396 

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations – (02) 6127 1999

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