The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, today announced that the Australian Defence Force (ADF)-led 205th Corps Advisory Team has concluded its mission in Kandahar.
The end of the training and advisory mission in Kandahar is part of the broader, NATO?led drawdown from a regional presence to a Kabul based mission.
Minister Payne congratulated the ADF and their Afghan counterparts on this milestone.
“This heralds the beginning of a new phase for the Afghan National Army 205th Corps. With Coalition support, the Afghan National Army 205th Corps has reached the point where they are now conducting fully independent operations,’’ Minister Payne said.
“More than 650 Australian personnel worked with their Coalition partners to achieve this level of capability for the ANA 205th Corps. Their development over the past five years reflects the Afghans’ improved skill and capacity in the field.”
With the conclusion of the training and advisory mission, the Afghan National Army (ANA) 205th Corps will be one of the first Afghan Army Corps to operate without Coalition mentors in immediate support.
Australia’s combat mission in Uruzgan Province commenced in 2005 and concluded at the end of 2013. Since then, the ADF has focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan security forces in Kandahar and Kabul, continuing its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-led mission.
The 205th Corps Coalition Advisory Team and their supporting elements will now return to Australia, reducing the ADF presence in Afghanistan to around 250 personnel, mainly located in Kabul.
Australian personnel will continue to support Afghan security forces through advisory and mentoring roles, including at the ANA Officer Academy, the General Command Police Special Units, and in embed roles advising Afghan security ministries and at NATO headquarters.
Minister Payne said Australia remains committed to building the capacity of Afghan security institutions, including the Afghan National Army.
“Continued international support will be vital for Afghanistan. The country still faces many challenges, including in relation to security as a result of the ongoing Taliban insurgency.”
Alongside the ADF contribution in Afghanistan, Australia is also providing US$300 million to support Afghanistan’s security sector from 2015 to 2017.
This financial commitment, jointly funded by the Department of Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is providing essential equipment, facilities and salaries for the Afghan security forces.
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Vision will be fed to the Parliament House Press Gallery.
Henry Budd (Senator Payne's office) 0429 531 143
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999