Posted: 25 Jun 2013, 1145 hours (GMT +8)
With the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the final stages of taking over full security responsibility for Afghanistan from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has concluded its deployments in Afghanistan. Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh, Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East MG Michael Peter Crane and Commander Regional Command South MG Robert B. Abrams were present at the completion ceremony held on 22 Jun 2013 at the Multinational Base Tarin Kowt located in Oruzgan.
As part of his visit, MG Singh also called on Commander ISAF General (GEN) Joseph Dunford in Kabul. During the meeting, MG Singh expressed his appreciation to the ISAF for the support rendered to SAF troops in the past six years of the SAF's operations in Afghanistan. GEN Dunford said, "The Singapore Army has been a valuable contributor to the ability of the Afghans to take the lead; from training their artillery forces to supporting us with our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, to assisting us in our strategic communications, to the medical and dental support. All those contributions by Singapore have truly made a difference."
Speaking after meeting with members of the SAF's Imagery Analysis Team (IAT), MG Singh said, "The SAF's deployment in Afghanistan has been one of the longest and most wide-ranging overseas deployments for us. Our soldiers have consistently demonstrated a high level of professionalism and commitment in carrying out their duties. Our international partners speak highly of the SAF as a ready and reliable partner. We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the global fight against terrorism and help the Afghan people. The deployments have also allowed the SAF to gain valuable operational experience." Captain Jason Kwek, member of the IAT, added, "The experience of being operationally deployed is like no other. Over the past months, we worked closely with troops from the United States and Australia and forged many friendships too."
The SAF has deployed close to 500 personnel to Afghanistan since May 2007 as part of Singapore's contributions to the multinational stabilisation and reconstruction efforts there. Operating as part of the ISAF, SAF personnel have contributed their expertise in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts, force protection, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as the training of the ANSF.