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Special Forces in Action in Afghanistan

Minister for Defence Media Mail List

Monday, 26 September 2005
161/2005

Special Forces in Action in Afghanistan

Defence Minister Robert Hill has visited the troops who are part of Australia's Special Forces Task Group at their new base in Afghanistan.

This is the first visit to Afghanistan by a Federal Minister following last month's deployment of 190 personnel, including SAS, Commandos and support personnel.

The Task Group was deployed to Afghanistan for one year and is now fully established and carrying out regular operations in Afghanistan.

Senator Hill also met with the Governor of the Province and the head of the United States Provincial Reconstruction Team who are working in the same Province as our Special Forces.

"While I was at the camp a group of Special Forces returned from about two weeks in the field where they encountered gun fire attempting to save the lives of a group of local police who were under serious attack," Senator Hill said.

"They did a remarkable job in difficult circumstances and were highly praised by the local community.

"I was pleased to be able to personally thank the soldiers for their efforts and to pass on the Government's appreciation and the support of the Australian community for the work they are doing to fight terrorism.

"It is clear that our Special Forces are working in a highly volatile and dangerous environment, but it was good to see they are upbeat and enthusiastic about the work they are doing.

"Afghan National Army soldiers travel with our Special Forces and form a critical link with the local village community and provide important intelligence about the region they are working in.

"Our Special Forces are also able to train the Afghan soldiers in the field which will provide a significant boost to their force capability in the future.

"The Governor of the Province said he welcomed the Australians to the area and would do all he could to work with them where possible to improve the security situation in the region and bring about a better life for the Afghan people.

"The Task Group is also working closely with our Coalition partners providing valuable information on the bigger picture within Afghanistan. The Coalition has provided vital air and ground support to our forces when they have needed it.

"They are a well trained and highly capable Task Group carrying out targeted missions. Their work is dangerous and I commend them for the professional work they are doing in remote and often hostile areas of the country.

"Afghanistan has made significant progress since its liberation and it is important the international community continues to work with the Afghan Government to build a stable future and a better quality of life for the Afghan people."

ENDS

Media Note:
Vision will be supplied to TV Networks at Parliament House later today.
Imagery will also be made available on the Defence Website at
http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/

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