Minister for Defence Stephen Smith welcomed the conclusion of Singapore’s contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with a flag ceremony at Multi-National Base Tarin Kot (MNB-TK) in Uruzgan Province late last month.
Singapore’s Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, announced in February that the Singapore Armed Forces would conclude its deployment in Uruzgan Province by the end of June.
Minister Smith thanked Singapore for its invaluable contribution to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan since 2007, in particular Singapore’s support as Australian forces took leadership of Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U) in October 2012.
Singapore has fully consulted with ISAF countries on its departure from Uruzgan and is consistent with the ongoing process of transition of full security responsibility from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in Uruzgan by the end of 2013.
Singapore provided substantial contributions in areas such as medical and surgical teams and military institutional trainers both in Uruzgan and Kabul.
The Australia and Singapore Defence relationship has been enhanced by practical cooperation in Afghanistan.
The relationship now includes combined training activities and shared membership of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
Singapore’s departure also coincides with Slovakia’s drawdown from Uruzgan Province.
Slovakia has made a significant contribution to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Australia thanks Slovakia for their partnership and support in Uruzgan Province since 2008.
Slovakia contributed a 50-man force protection team in Uruzgan, providing security at MNB-TK and Forward Operating Base Hadrian. Slovakia’s contribution evolved to include teams that mentored and advised the ANA 4th Brigade, 205 Corps in Combat Service Support. Slovakia also made contributions to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Uruzgan.
Slovakia will continue to contribute troops to the wider ISAF mission.
The success of the ANSF work in Uruzgan reflects the quality of support provided by Singapore and Slovakia.
Australia remains on track to hand over full security responsibility to the ANSF in Uruzgan Province by the end of this year.
With the completion of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan by the end of the year Australia will bring home over 1000 troops, the vast majority of our troops from Afghanistan.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130506 and http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130507.
Minister Smith's office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999