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An Explosives Detection Dog sits at the ready before an operation with the commandos of the 1st Commando Regiment in Southern Afghanistan.

 

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SPECIAL Forces reservists from the 1st Commando Regiment comprised the main fighting element of Australia’s Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) during the recent winter in Afghanistan.

Thanks to their efforts in Oruzgan, Taliban insurgents have less access to the population and local Afghan police have a stronger presence.

Their mission over winter was Population Centric Operations (PCO), which involved heading to remote and dangerous parts of Oruzgan that were at risk of insurgent influence to build the support of local communities.

They did this by listening to community leaders, conducting medical clinics, providing humanitarian assistance, and conducting community based security assessments, in conjunction with Oruzgan’s Provincial Police Reserve, whom they supported and provided training for.

In addition, they were involved in a number of hostile engagements with insurgents.

The men and women of the 1st Commando Regiment who formed the bulk of the SOTG over winter came from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds to give up an Australian summer, civilian work commitments, and time with loved ones, in order to help the people of Afghanistan overcome an insurgency that seeks to deny the people of Afghanistan the freedoms Australians can take for granted.

Their Officer Commanding, a Major B, said the wide variety of skill sets and experience that came with a deployment of Army Reservists proved to be a key enabler in fulfilling their mission.

“I think on this particular tour, focusing on PCO, even though we’re special forces there’s no doubt that having reservists there we’ve got a broader experience of life in general that’s certainly value added to this particular SOTG rotation,” Major B said.

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Taken on December 3, 2009