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MTF 4 has been working with Afghan
forces in eastern Uruzgan on a major
operation against insurgents, Defence
Minister Stephen Smith told parliament
on May 24.
Speaking on his return from the NATO/
ISAF Summit in Chicago, Mr Smith
said MTF 4 personnel continued to work
closely with Afghan forces to improve the
security situation, including on Operation
"This complex operation was planned
from the start by the [ANA] 4th Brigade
and involves the clearance of insurgents in
an area that in the past has not had a sig-
nificant government presence," Mr Smith
"The operation ... will see a new patrol
base built, which will mark a permanent
ANA presence in that part of the province
for the first time."
Mr Smith said feedback from his most
recent trip to Afghanistan and the Chicago
Summit confirmed Australia's transition
plans aligned with coalition partners in
"Progress towards transition to Afghan-
led security responsibility is being made in
Uruzgan province and across Afghanistan,"
"As we commence the northern fight-
ing season, the thoughts of all Australians
will be with our forces in Uruzgan and
In his update to parliament, Mr Smith
also provided detainee management figures
for the first few months since extending the
time selected detainees could be held in
Australian custody at the initial screening
area at Tarin Kot.
Two three-day extensions can be
applied to the initial four-day screen-
ing period if more detailed assessment is
required to determine if a detainee has
knowledge that could help with force pro-
"Around 25 per cent of detainees inter-
rogated by the ADF have been released
within the initial 96-hour period as there
was insufficient evidence to support their
continued detention," Mr Smith said.
"The remaining 75 per cent of detain-
ees interrogated by the ADF were held
in Australian custody within the initial
screening area beyond the 96-hour peri-
od on an initial three-day comprehensive
"Approximately 40 per cent of these
detainees remained in Australian custody
on a subsequent additional three days com-
prehensive screening extension."
Mr Smith also updated parliament on
detainee allegations of mistreatment in
Australian custody from August 1, 2010, to
May 21 this year.
"There have been 97 allegations of mis-
treatment against Australian forces," he
"To date, 82 of these allegations have
been considered and have been assessed
as unsubstantiated, while 15 allegations
remain under investigation."
NATO/ISAF Summit confirms transition plan
Progress: Defence Minister Stephen Smith highlighted a recent joint MTF 4 and Afghan National Army
operation during his most recent update to parliament on Afghanistan. Pictured is Lt Geoffrey Godkin and
Lt Naseer Ahmad in the Tangi Valley.
Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
e 7, 2012
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