Australia’s military, police and civilian agencies are taking a joint approach to stabilise and rebuild Afghanistan.
Working together, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), AusAID, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), are improving security, governance and development in Oruzgan Province.
The ADF and Australian Government representatives are delivering projects that are improving the lives of the Afghan people.
Some of the projects, which will have a significant impact on the population in Tarin Kowt, include a new waste management facility, a boy’s primary school and high school, a girl’s school and numerous water crossings in the Province.
Commanding Officer of the recently returned Second Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF-2), Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hocking, says development is critical to continue to win the enduring support of the population and defeat the insurgency.
“We have been focused on mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) for the past few years and slowly but surely, the ANA is starting to stand on their own,” Lieutenant Colonel Hocking said.
“By improving the security situation, we are creating better conditions for governance, reconstruction and development efforts into areas such as the Mirabad Valley Region.”
Peter Macfarlane, DFAT’s Senior Civilian Representative in Oruzgan Province, says the Whole of Government approach is critical to capitalise on the work already done to stabilise the province.
“We’ve all got different interests and angles to pursue, but we are able to do it in a very concerted way and a co-operative and collaborative way,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Kate Elliott, a Development Advisor with AusAID, says ADF assistance is essential: “While there are an increasing number of non-government agencies operating in Oruzgan, it’s still very hard to go out and monitor projects effectively.”
“We rely on the Australian Defence Force to provide protection and also the experience of the engineers to undertake site inspections to make sure that Australia’s aid is being spent effectively,” Ms Elliott said.
Further supporting the security effort, the AFP is engaged in police development activities with Afghan National Police recruits, in accordance with an approved national police training program.
To date more than 600 police have graduated from the Provincial Training Centre in Tarin Kowt, with further recruit courses scheduled for 2010.
Frank Jamieson, AFP Contingent Commander, says the wider effort by the Australian Government to support the stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan will ultimately have a global impact.
“It is important to remember that our objective in Afghanistan is to support the development of rule of law and to enhance the capabilities of the Afghan National Police,” Commander Jamieson said.
“Through these efforts, Australia is also demonstrating its capacity to play an active role in enhancing international security – both with our allies and with the wider international community.”
Project Engineer Captain Daniel Waugh said he’s very happy with what the MRTF-2 Works Team achieved during their tour.
“You meet children that go to schools, people who use the crossings that you’ve built to get to the bazaar and you can’t help but realise that you have made a difference to some lives,” Captain Waugh said.
Australian engineers also mentor local engineers: “My skills improve day by day working with Australia,” Tila Muhammad Hassan Zai, an Afghan engineer, said.
Still imagery is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/gallery/2010/20100302/index.htm