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Government announces increase in ADF forces in Afghanistan.

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Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

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MSPA 144/09 Wednesday, 29 April 2009

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN ADF FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN Today, the Government announced a decision to enhance its military and civilian commitment to Afghanistan and specifically its intent to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

These additional force elements will increase Australia’s troop contribution to Afghanistan to approximately 1550 Australian Defence Force personnel. This increase represents an effective and sustainable contribution in Afghanistan to coalition efforts while allowing us to expand

on our current operations.

Australia views this development as the cornerstone of a successful counter-insurgency strategy and key to ensuring an enduring satisfactory level of security in Afghanistan.

Afghan ownership and leadership remain pre-requisites for success. This is why Australia has evolved and increased its military contribution to increase the focus on training and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA).

This enhanced commitment will see an increase in operational capability and logistics support to the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force as well as a short term commitment to assist with security during the upcoming Afghanistan elections.

The increased contribution will be made up of:

o two additional Operational Mentor and Liaison teams (OMLTs) of approximately 100 personnel;

o additional personnel for our current Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force efforts of approximately 70 personnel;

o an increase to the number of HQ embedded staff by approximately 70 personnel.

o an enhanced engineering element of approximately 40 personnel; and

o an Election Support Force of approximately 120 personnel.

o an additional 50 personnel consisting of logistics and transport specialists, including one additional C-130 aircraft and support crew, will get the new elements of the force established in Afghanistan.

This decision to increase Australia’s troop contribution to Afghanistan will provide the Australian Defence Force with the necessary resources to support this strategy to good effect.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664