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Australia ready to lead ISAF Combined Team - Uruzgan (CTU)

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Minister for Defence Stephen Smith - Australia ready to lead ISAF Combined Team - Uruzgan (CTU)

11 September 2012

The Minister for Defence Stephen Smith MP today announced that the Australian Defence Force is ready

to assume command responsibilities of Combined Team Uruzgan following a final mission rehearsal

activity at Robertson Barracks in Darwin.

Over the past two weeks soldiers from the Army’s 1st Brigade have finalised extensive training, together

with United States Army counter-parts from the 2nd ‘Spartan’ Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry

Division, forming the joint headquarters of Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU).

The training marked the end of preparations for the transfer of command responsibilities for CTU from the

United States to Australia in October.

As well as the deploying Australian and US contingent, Australian Government personnel from the

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAID and Australian Federal Police also took part in the

training activity.

The training involved scenarios replicating the contemporary operational environment in Uruzgan and

reflecting the responsibilities of the combined headquarters, including advising Afghan National Security


Personnel from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Task Group, also took part in the training in

preparation for their replacing the currently deployed 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Task

Group later this year.

CTU was established in August 2010 under United States command following the withdrawal of the Dutch,

with the role of commanding International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Uruzgan

Province. The United States has had the leadership of CTU since that time.

Australia sees leadership of the CTU as part of the transition process through which security responsibility

will be transferred from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Uruzgan commenced transition to Afghan-led security responsibility on 17 July this year. Australia sees

this as the appropriate time to take the leadership role in Uruzgan Province, to help ensure that transition

in Uruzgan over the coming 12 to 18 month period is effected in a seamless way.

The United States has committed to continuing to provide enabling support in the Province, which it has

done since August 2010. Assuming leadership of CTU will not require an increase in the overall average

size of Australia’s presence in Uruzgan.

Australia looks forward to continuing to work with our CTU partners - the United States, Singapore and

Slovakia - to progress transition in Uruzgan to the Afghan authorities.

Media note:

Vision of the exercise will be fed to the press gallery at: 11 September 2012 at 4.00pm

Imagery of the exercise is available at:

Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392

Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999