16 March 2017

AUS: ADF Helps Sharpen Kabul’s Security Spear

Formed in 2015, Kabul Garrison Command (KGC) has been tasked by the President of Afghanistan to improve the security of the Kabul Province – and the ADF is helping make it happen.

Supported by an Australian Defence Force (ADF) advisory team (KGC-AT), KGC is the only joint command in Afghanistan, comprising about 14,000 Afghan National Police, 8,000 Afghan National Army and 3,000 National Directorate of Security intelligence personnel.

The Australians provide critical mentoring support to the Afghan Commander, Lieutenant General Gul Nabi Ahmadzai, and KGC principal staff officers at the senior leadership level.

Commander of KGC-AT, Australian Army officer Colonel Michael Murdoch, said despite an extremely complex operating environment he has been continually impressed by the advisory team’s achievements.

“Our team has helped KGC to conduct its first multi-Corps joint operation in insurgent safe havens, and enhanced joint search and clearance operations,” COL Murdoch said.

“We have also helped create an intelligence-led operational culture and improved their ability to communicate with the residents of Kabul through information operations.”

Under the unified command of LTGEN Ahmadzai, KGC provides security for more than six million residents of Kabul Province.

LTGEN Ahmadzai said the support of the Australian mentors has been essential to their success as a joint unit within Afghanistan.

“The unified command of KGC has helped changed the security situation by working together,” LTGEN Ahmadzai said.

“The Australian advisers are really making a difference for us and our government - our mission is united as one.

“The mentors work with us every day to help improve security in Kabul, which in turn, improves the security of Afghanistan.”

The success of KGC has led to the planned creation of six new regional joint commands (based on a similar model) and, in future, a national joint command as part of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) roadmap.

COL Murdoch said that the lessons learned by KGC and the advisory team will be pivotal in ensuring the successful establishment of the new regional joint commands across Afghanistan.

'The KGC has overcome numerous obstacles to establish itself as the country's first joint command,” he said.

“They have done so in little over 18 months, despite no previous joint culture within the ANDSF, and in almost constant contact with insurgents and criminals.

“Without a doubt, the achievements of KGC and the advisory team together have had a positive impact on security across Kabul Province.”

LTGEN Ahmadzai said KGC will continue to improve Kabul’s security and protect its residents to build a safer Afghanistan.

“We’ve had a good effect on Kabul security through daily patrols, checkpoints and clearing operations,” LTGEN Ahmadzai said.

“We continue to build the trust of Kabul residents through coordinated security and quick responses to incidents so that we can bring peace to Kabul, and ultimately, Afghanistan.”

About 270 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed on Operation HIGHROAD as part of Australia’s commitment to the NATO led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.