Australia’s role in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan is evolving following progress made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
Around 100 troops from the Train, Advise and Assist Command – Air (TAAC-Air), Command Staff Academy, Sergeant Major’s Academy and national support functions, will return to Australia.
“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,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.
“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.”
The move means Australia’s role with the Command Staff Academy and Sergeant Major’s Academy has ended. 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 also 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.
Australian forces have been in Afghanistan since 2001. 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 over 2,500 Afghan Officers through the Command Staff Academy and over 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 5,000th 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.