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WORLD NEWS 13
Army April 28, 2011
Behind the front line
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
ADF personnel deployed to
Afghanistan are not just fighting
insurgents in Uruzgan province; they
are also serving in key positions at
ISAF HQ in Kabul assisting with the
planning and running of the war.
The Australian ISAF Embed
Coordinator and Assistant to Deputy
Director of ISAF Operations, Sqn-Ldr
Steve Tubby, said there were 20 ADF
personnel working at the HQ.
"Australians are valued here,
employed in key operational and
planning positions," Sqn Ldr Tubby
"They work in a variety of roles
including strategic planning, public
affairs, insurgent force reintegration,
as the head chef of the mess, a PTI
works in the base gym, economic
development, strategic transition and
One of Army's representatives
working in the HQ is Maj Peter
"I work in the operations plans
department and my job is to manage
the strategic synchronisation matrix
for ISAF HQ," Maj Parton said.
"This involves me tracking things
such as the large troop movements in
and out of the country, the key mili-
tary and governmental meetings,
which have and are about to occur, and
how they link in with the transition of
responsibilities to future full Afghan
control of their military forces.
"It's a good experience to work
in a strategic HQ as we don't get an
opportunity to do this at home."
He said it was an interesting but
"I have oversight of what's hap-
pening in Afghanistan but also what's
going on in the international commu-
nity," he said.
"Not being from a NATO coun-
try, I get a good insight into how the
NATO process works through their
various committees and how the tran-
sition will evolve looking out to 2014
The best part of his job is doing
something few ADF personnel will
ever get the chance to do in their mili-
tary careers, talk to the commander of
the International Security Assistance
Force in Afghanistan, Gen David
"I get to brief Gen Petraeus every
two weeks, which is a good oppor-
tunity for an Australian face to stand
up and articulate the big strategic pic-
ture," Maj Parton said. "It's a unique
experience for an Australian, as there
are not many of us here.
"It's good for other countries who
haven't worked with Australians
before to see us working here as pro-
For the 20 embeds it's not all work,
Sqn-Ldr Tubby said the Aussies had
established their own dedicated rec-
reation centre in the ISAF compound
where they could watch TV, call home,
use the internet and have a barbecue.
"It's called Anzac Cove and we
share it with the New Zealand mili-
tary personnel posted here," he said.
"We have the best set up of most
of the nations because of our small
numbers and each week we have a
Friday morning barbecue brunch,
where each Australian brings a friend
from another country.
"It's a sought-after invitation and
the facility is used for other functions
such as farewells."
Maj Parton has four months of his
deployment with the ISAF HQ left
to run. "I've enjoyed my time so far
and Kabul is an interesting place to
Embedded: Australian and New Zealand personnel outside their recreation facility at ISAF compound in Kabul.
Inset, Maj Peter Parton.
Photos by Sgt Bill Guthrie
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