1st Mentoring Task Force Brings Local Afghan Communities Together

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14th May 2010, 02:53pm - Views: 631

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Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6127 1999, Fax: 02 6265 1545

MSPA 168/10

Friday, 14 May 2010

1st Mentoring Task Force brings local Afghan communities together

A combined Afghan and Australian security operation has enabled southern Baluchi Valley residents to

speak with Afghan Government representatives about their local needs for the first time in more than a


Two weeks after the conclusion of the partnered 1st Mentoring Task Force (MTF-1) and Afghan

National Army (ANA) 4th Brigade operation, known as JENUB FAYDA (Southern Advantage in

Pashtu), community representatives met with Government representatives in a traditional shura


Commanding Officer of the Brisbane-based MTF-1, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Blain said that the

efforts of MTF-1 and ANA soldiers in the southern Baluchi Valley have directly contributed to greater

community engagement with the Afghan Government.

“We facilitated a shura recently in the southern Baluchi Valley that involved about 50 community

leaders, tribal elders, Afghan Government officials and representatives from Australian Government

agencies such as AusAID,” Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.

“This was the first time in more than twelve months that the Afghan Government was able to meet with

leaders of this particular community to discuss education, health, security and public works in their


“That we were able to bring them together just ten days after Operation JENUB FAYDA concluded

was only possible thanks to the efforts of MTF-1 soldiers and their ANA counterparts in improving the

security situation,” Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.

The shura proved a great success, with many of the discussions leading to agreement by the

participants in the key areas of security, public health, education, and public works.

“Oruzgan’s Interim Governor, Khoday Rahim, seemed to strike a common chord with many of the

local leaders keen to discuss community needs for improved security and the development of

community health centres and schools,” Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.

“The Provincial Police Chief also spoke to the shura and committed to provide an Afghan National

Police presence in the community to help maintain an increased level of security – the people seemed

to respond well to that,” Lieutenant Colonel Blain said.

Lieutenant Colonel Blain said that MTF-1 continues to work closely with the Afghan Government and

security forces, as well as AFP, AusAID, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ISAF, and local

communities to improve the security situation and enhance the lives of the Afghan people.

For more information on the Australian Defence Force’s operations in Afghanistan go to:

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Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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