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12 WORLD NEWS
Army December 10, 2009
By Lt Madeline Denholm
WHILE the warmer months may
be traditionally known as the peak
fighting season for the Taliban
in Afghanistan, there will be no
easing of the operational tempo
over winter for Australian troops
deployed in the Oruzgan province.
OC MRTF 2 Lt-Col Peter
Connolly said while he expected
the Taliban would possibly change
some of their methods in the colder
months, he believed there would be
an ongoing high threat from IEDs.
"We will continue to operate
in a persistent manner and domi-
nate those parts of the area of
operation we have been dominat-
ing throughout the summer," Lt-
Col Connolly said.
"It's very important that we con-
tinue to do this because we can't
afford to allow the Taliban to gain
MRTF 2, SOTG and Afghan
troops have made significant
progress in the Mirabad valley,
a known insurgent safe haven,
since the launch of Operation Baz
Panje, meaning Falcon's Talon, in
The operation is a critical step
in spreading the coalition's influ-
ence into the area by building a new
patrol base to be occupied by the
Afghan National Army's (ANA's)
Lt-Col Connolly said small
groups of soldiers, predominantly
from 1RAR, with support from
3CER engineers, continued to push
out into "what is a quite complex
and threatening green zone".
JOINT Afghan and Australian oper-
ations in Afghanistan are having a
significant impact on the Taliban's
weapons and ammunition reserves
with the discovery of 44 caches in
the past two months.
The most recent cache discovered
included small-arms ammunition, 55
high-explosive anti-tank RPGs and
an 82mm recoilless rifle with four
rounds. The cache was uncovered
during a routine patrol by MRTF 2
and Afghan National Army (ANA)
soldiers near Mirabad, east of Tarin
Kowt in Oruzgan province.
CO MRTF 2 Lt-Col Peter Connolly
believed the finds would reduce the
insurgents' operational capability.
"To uncover one cache in a fort-
night would be considered a good rate
of find, so to find 44 in a small area
within a space of two months is very
significant," Lt-Col Connolly said.
"Through constant, aggressive and
unpredictable patrolling in sections
and small teams we have also discov-
ered 11 IEDs.
"We're going into winter and it
has become very cold out there and
this is a time when [insurgents] tend
to rely on their stores, particularly
for all the IED components they've
been storing up, so they can contin-
ue to fight through the harsh winter
Aggressive action: MRTF 2 soldiers and 'Jep' the dog on a dawn patrol in Sorkh Morghab,
southern Afghanistan (above) and seized Taliban ammunition (inset). Main photo by Cpl Rachel Ingram
will not slow
"They're dominating the area
by day and by night alongside their
Afghan partners, making sure that
the Taliban are unable to get in close
to where we're building Patrol Base
Wali," he said.
As a result of the positive control
established in that area, construc-
tion of the patrol base is ahead of
LCpl Scott Perry, a combat engi-
neer working on the site, said the
perimeter was mostly finished and
work had started on the interior.
"We have small groups from the
ANA that come and help us all the
time with the basic construction
stuff, and we are trying to mentor
them in different construction tech-
niques," he said.
Nearby, a tower is being built in
an overwatch position by the ANA
under the guidance of Sgt Malcolm
Hughson, an OMLT instructor.
"This will take care of any views
to the south as well as the panoramic
views to the east and the west, pretty
much covering the ground that the
patrol base itself can't cover," Sgt
ANA engineer commander Lt
Mohammad Arman said his soldiers
liked working with the Australians.
"They get better every day and
they work well. Day by day they do
different work like carpentry, wir-
ing around the camp and the fill-
ing of Hesco protective basket, and
different other works. They learn
about electrical work and more," Lt
It is expected patrol base Wali
will be completed before Christmas
and will be handed over to the ANA.
Persistent patrolling: Cpl Brodie Keating (right) halts, as his MRTF
2 section patrols through Sorkh Morghab.
Photo by Cpl Rachel Ingram
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