Fact Sheet

International Security Assistance Force fact sheet (1.35Mb)

International commitment to Afghanistan fact sheet (59Kb)

Australia's commitment in Afghanistan fact sheet (219Kb)

History of Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan fact sheet (65Kb)

Recent Government announcements on Afghanistan fact sheet (79Kb)

Progress in Afghanistan since 2001 fact sheet (88Kb)

Australia's Commitment in Afghanistan

Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is deployed under Operation SLIPPER. Australia’s military contribution includes approximately 1,550 Australian Defence Force personnel who are deployed within Afghanistan. These numbers vary depending on operational requirements and shifting seasonal conditions. Approximately 800 personnel provide support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including our maritime commitment. In keeping with the ISAF strategy to strengthen civilian engagement in Afghanistan and to better integrate civilian and military efforts, Australia now has around 50 civilians working in Afghanistan, in addition to around ten Defence civilians.

Australia’s substantial military, civilian and development assistance focuses on:

Force Elements Currently Deployed as part of JTF 633

Command and Control

Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 (HQJTF 633), based in the United Arab Emirates, provides command and control of all ADF elements deployed throughout the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) on operations SLIPPER and KRUGER. JTF 633 is commanded by Major General Angus Campbell AM.

Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 – Afghanistan (HQJTF 633-A) - Based in Kabul, provides JTF 633’s interface with the ISAF Headquarters and other agencies in Afghanistan.

Land Operations

Transition to Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U)

Dutch and Australian forces worked together on rebuilding local infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and improving the local situation in Uruzgan Province between 2006 and July 2010.

Combined Team – Uruzgan was established as a result of the transfer of leadership for ISAF operations in Urazgan when the Dutch withdrew on 31 July 2010.

Coalition and Afghan National Army basing arrangements at Tarin Kot were amalgamated into a single garrison, called Multinational Base -Tarin Kot (MNB –TK).

Combined Team– Uruzgan

Combined Team – Uruzgan (CT-U) is the name of the ISAF led multinational effort, in Uruzgan province.

CT-U ensures the right command structures, organisational structures, and resources are in place to enable the crucial integration of the civilian and military elements of the campaign, and the achievement of both civilian and military objectives.

CT-U comprises of personnel from the United States, Australia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and Sweden.

CT-U works under an ISAF flag which means:

US Colonel James Creighton currently commands CT-U with the support of a multinational headquarters. He is due to be replaced by Colonel Bob Akan in June 2011.

Australian Colonel Dave Smith is the Deputy Commander of CT-U.

The Australian component of CT-U includes;

The ADF works closely with officers from other Australian government agencies, including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This cooperation ensures comprehensive support and assistance to the ISAF campaign and the people of Uruzgan Province.

Components of the Australian Defence Force deployed to Afghanistan
in detail

Element of the Headquarters Combined Team – Uruzgan (HQCT-U)

Approximately 100 ADF personnel work within the HQCT-U providing support to operations in Uruzgan province. The headquarters commands, administers and coordinates the multinational operations of the CT-U.

Mentoring Task Force

The Mentoring Task Force is engaged in mentoring, reconstruction and security operations in Uruzgan Province. 

The 2nd Mentoring Task Force (MTF-2) is comprised of approximately 724 ADF personnel commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Darren Huxley.

The bulk of MTF-1 is drawn from the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade (Darwin), with support elements across Defence. 

MTF-2 partnered mentoring

The Mentoring Task Force consists of five Mentoring Teams (MTs) of varying size and capability dependant on the organisation they mentor.

These teams are structured to best support the mission of ongoing assistance in the development of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade which consists of:

Australian soldiers operating in the MTs live with, train and provide support to their Afghan National Army colleagues at patrol bases in Uruzgan Province, focused on the main population centres of Tarin Kot, Deh Rawood and Chora as well as security through the Baluchi and Mirabad Valley regions and north into Kush Kadir valley.

Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are teams of civilian and military personnel working together to facilitate the delivery of stability, governance and development activities at the provincial and district level.

In delivering the Commander ISAF’s counterinsurgency strategy of “shape, clear, hold and build,” there are about 26 Provincial Reconstruction Teams operating in provinces across Afghanistan.
Australia has provided the senior civilian coordinator in the Provincial Reconstruction Team who is from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Other Australian Government agencies involved with the PRT include:

Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Support Element

The PRT Support Element provides Force protection to the civilian element of the PRT, a managed works team and the trade training school.

Approximately 65 ADF personnel are deployed to the PRT Support Element to provide force protection transport support.

PRT Support Element - The Trade Training School

The Trade Training School, previously run by the Mentoring Task Force, has been conducting a basic course since 2006, offering training in plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying.

An advanced construction workers course has been offered since July 2007, providing a greater depth of training in plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying as well as developing basic Foreman skills.

Reconstruction projects

Ongoing development projects being conducted by the PRT Support Element are aimed at enhancing health, education and other vital infrastructure within Tarin Kot and include:


Some of the projects completed by previous Australian Defence Force rotations include:


The following enabling units are deployed to Afghanistan in support of CT-U.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Detachment

Based at the Multinational Base - Tarin Kot, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Detachment (UAV) from 20th Surveillance Targeting Acquisition Regiment operates the Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

The Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle provides tactical aerial reconnaissance support to land forces in Uruzgan Province.

Heron Detachment

The Heron Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) is a much larger aircraft than the Scan Eagle Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and is capable of providing medium altitude reconnaissance, surveillance and mission support.

Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT)

A key component of the Counter Improvised Explosive Device battle is the Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT). The small unit analyses IED components used by insurgents so the Australian Defence Force can determine the best methods of countering the IED threat, through informing tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as equipment design and development.

Other Australian Elements in support

Special Operations Task Group (SOTG)

The Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) is deployed to Southern Afghanistan to conduct population-centric, security and counter-network operations. At around 300 personnel, the SOTG is one of the largest, most potent Special Forces units in Afghanistan.

The SOTG operates in partnership with the Afghan Nationall Police and in synchronisation with other Coalition, government and Non-Government Organisations (NGO) in Uruzgan and near by provinces.

The SOTG is primarily based in Multi-National Base Tarin Kot but has command and liaison elements in Kandahar and Kabul.

It consists of approximately 300 personnel from the 1st and 2nd Commando Regiments, the Special Air Service Regiment, the Incident Response Regiment, the Special Operations Logistic Squadron, and various other services, units and commands around Australia.

The SOTG trains, mentors and partners with Afghan National police officers from the Uruzgan Provincial Response Company (PRC) and other branches of the Afghan National Security Forces, in order to build their capacity and capability to establish and maintain security and stability in the region.

The Task Group also works closely with the co-located Combined CT-U providing Special Forces support to operations in Uruzgan province.

Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (CIED TF)

In February 2006 the Chief of Defence Force directed the establishment of a dedicated Task Force to coordinate and monitor the Australian Defence Force’s response to the IED threat – the ADF Counter Improvised Explosive device Task Force (CIED TF).

The Australian Defence Force’s approach to combating the IED threat is heavily reliant on robust and adaptable tactics, techniques and procedures (TPPs), coupled with the provision of world standard technology.

Defence, in parallel with its coalition partners, is constantly exploring technology–based opportunities to strengthen its counter IED capabilities. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), performs a critical role in this area.

The CIED TF has strong links to our Coalition partners and has personnel deployed to support operations in Afghanistan as well as the United States at the Joint IED Defeat Organisation.

The Multi National Base –Tarin Kot

The Multi National Base –Tarin Kot has a Commanding Officer who is responsible for coordinating logistics resupply, aviation, medical and base support functions.

The Commanding Officer position rotates between the troop contributing nations that share the base. 

Australia is providing the first Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Paul Aggett.

Role 2 Medical Facility

Located at Multi National Base –Tarin Kot, the Role 2 Medical Facility provides primary surgery for casualties and emergency and is US operated.

The ADF provides approximately three personnel in support to the facility.

Joint Movements Coordination Centre

Movements and transport are fundamental enablers to operations. Movement control and coordination involves the planning, routing, scheduling and control of personnel and cargo movements to and from Australia, and throughout the entire MEAO.

A Joint Movements Coordination Centre (JMCC) deployed across the MEAO provides effective and efficient movements support to the deployed forces. The JMCC undertakes the movement planning, control, coordination and execution of this support in accordance with the force’s requirements and priorities.

ADF operations in the MEAO are geographically dispersed and supported by dedicated military transport assets, contracted and commercial air assets, and where required, Royal Australian Navy ships, coalition and commercial road transport assets.

Force Support Unit

The Force Support Unit (FSU) is a joint unit providing logistic support, camp maintenance and theatre induction training for Australian Defence Force elements in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
The current Force Support Unit Five (FSU-5) is primarily comprised of Army personnel with numerous Navy and Air Force members drawn from various units and bases across Australia.

The tasks of the FSU include the management and distribution of supplies and equipment necessary for the conduct of operations, the provision of postal support throughout the MEAO and base maintenance support in Tarin Kot and Kandahar.

The FSU is also responsible for the provision of MEAO induction training for all personnel entering the Middle East. This training provides acclimatisation and final preparation for personnel before they move forward to their Task Groups. The training consists of operational briefings, equipment issues, weapons handling testing, live firing and engagements, and combat first aid training.

Force Support Unit is in three locations throughout the Middle East including Tarin Kot and Kandahar.

Force Communications Unit

The Force Communications Unit (FCU) is a joint unit responsible for the provision of national command and welfare communications and information systems to Joint Task Force 633, supporting National Command and Control across the MEAO. The FCU has elements at every location the Australian Defence Force is deployed in the Middle Eastern Area of Operations (MEAO).

Locations range from Headquarters JTF633 in the MEAO through to forward operating bases and patrol bases in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Currently FCU-5 is based upon the 3rd Combat Signals Regiment from Lavarack barracks Townsville, Air Force 1st Combat Communication Squadron from Richmond and a small contingent from Navy.

Rotary Wing Group

First deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, Australia’s Rotary Wing Group (RWG) from the Townsville-based 5th Aviation Regiment operates two CH-47D Medium Lift Helicopters (MLH) from Kandahar Air Field in support of ISAF helicopter operations.

The CH-47D, a tandem rotor cargo helicopter with a maximum all up weight of 50,000lbs (22,727kg), provides significant lift capability in high density-altitude conditions, making it well suited to operations within Afghanistan’s traditionally harsh environment.

Australian CH47Ds are currently embedded with the United States Army’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade with whom they perform combat service support, quick response force and medical/casualty evacuation missions.

Approximately 65 ADF personnel are deployed with the RWG.

Approximately 65 ADF personnel serve with the RWG and are deployed to support operations from February to October each year.

Air Operations

Joint Task Force 633 Air Component Headquarters

The JTF633 Air Component provides coordination and tasking support to HQ JTF633 for all aircraft and air combat support elements assigned to Operation SLIPPER.

Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Unit (ISR TU)

The ISR TU includes two operational crews who fly two AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft. These aircraft provide maritime surveillance of the Arabian Sea and overland surveillance of Afghanistan.
Air Mobility Task Unit (AM TU)

The AM TU fly and maintain three C-130J aircraft which provide intra-theatre air movement for Australian and Coalition forces throughout the MEAO and Afghanistan.  

Combat Support Unit (CSU)

The CSU is comprised of maintenance and support personnel who manage the administrative and support functions Al Minhad Air Base, the Air Load Teams in Afghanistan and support personnel for the Coalition Air Operations Centre Detachment.

C-17 Support

C-17 aircraft from the RAAF’s Amberley (Queensland) based 36 Squadron provide routine strategic lift support to Australian forces in the MEAO including Afghanistan.

Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Detachment

A small element is co-located with the MEAO CAOC. This detachment provides important information and liaison duties to enable ADF air operations throughout the MEAO.   

Maritime Operations

Since the commencement of Operation SLIPPER in 2001, Australia has maintained a maritime contribution to operations in the Middle East Area of Operations.

Currently this consists of a Major Fleet Unit, the ANZAC Class frigate, HMAS Toowoomba, which is flexibly cross tasked  between US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Forces (CTFs) 150 (counter terrorism), 151 (counter-piracy) and 152 (maritime security).

CMF patrol more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct both integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose: to increase the security and prosperity of the region by working together for a better future.

CMF is working to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.

HMAS Toowoomba is conducting maritime security operations across the Combined Maritime Force area of operations. HMAS Toowoomba’s mission allows her to undertake maritime interdictions and counter-piracy operations, including activities under the command of CTF 150. HMAS Toowoomba entered the MEAO on 02 January 2011.

ADF personnel embedded with Coalition Headquarters

Australian Defence Force members are also embedded across a number of Coalition headquarters throughout the MEAO and Afghanistan providing critical, specialist staff effort in support of operations.

Other ADF elements deployed in Afghanistan

Operation Herrick
- A detachment of 15 Gunners from the Townsville -based 4th Field Regiment, Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, are deployed as part of the United Kingdom’s Task Force Helmand in Helmand Province. The Australian gunners are with the UK task force under a bilateral arrangement to further enhance the training and experience of the Australian Army’s offensive support capability.

Other ADF elements deployed in Afghanistan

Operation PALATE II -
Two ADF officers are attached to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to maintain contact and liaison with all military forces throughout Afghanistan.