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Successful rotation for SOTG comes to an end

Successful rotation for SOTG comes to an end

The most recent Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) rotation in Afghanistan has returned home after achieving significant success in recent months.

Commanding Officer of the SOTG rotation, Lieutenant Colonel J, praised the significant results achieved by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and their Australian Special Forces partners in the Uruzgan province.

Lieutenant Colonel J said training was a vital part of the SOTG’s role as part of Operation SLIPPER in Afghanistan.

“Australian Special Forces worked closely with Afghan partner forces on nearly every mission and conducted numerous training courses throughout the rotation,” Lieutenant Colonel J said.

“Part of our job is to ensure we are preparing the ANSF to be capable of providing security for the people of Uruzgan when transition occurs.

“Courses included leadership and management, rule of law, basic evidence handling, human rights, marksmanship training, medical teaching and basic searching skills.
“These courses are vital as we are increasing the capability of the ANSF, which will ensure they can provide that security.

“The ANSF has made important steps during the last few months and I am extremely confident the Afghans' will have the capacity and capability to secure Uruzgan province in the future.”

Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power said Australian Special Forces soldiers and their ANSF partner forces had worked closely as a team to achieve very significant results.

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“Together they have removed a large number of insurgent commanders from the battle field and further improved security in Uruzgan province.

“The loss of so many commanders is a significant blow to the insurgency, which will hamper their ability to coordinate and conduct attacks against Afghan and international Forces.”

The SOTG rotation also had a significant impact on insurgent drug production and distribution.

Counter narcotic missions involving SOTG and partner forces of the Afghan National Interdiction Unity and the US Drug Enforcement Agency removed US$11,372,417 (Afghan Street value) from the insurgency.

This included the destruction of 3221kg of hashish, 2212.5kg of opium and 120kg of heroin from 58 drug caches.

A total of 830 weapons were recovered or destroyed, while 165.4kg of explosives were destroyed during the rotation.

Sadly, during this rotation SGT Blaine Diddams was killed while on a mission to capture an insurgent commander.

“Blaine’s family remain in our thoughts and we will continue to support them through this time of grief. We will never forget Blaine’s sacrifice or his distinguished service during his Army career,” LTCOL J said.

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