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Department of Defence
Media Release


29/04/2010 MECC 141/10


From gunfire to governance in Gizab


Local government is being restored and the Taliban suppressed in a northern Oruzgan town thanks to the local community’s desire to denounce the Taliban with a strong show of bravery with military support from Australian Special Forces and their Afghan partner force, the Provincial Police Reserve.

In the northern Oruzgan town of Gizab, a number of Taliban were killed and captured in a series of firefights that involved Gizab locals, Special Operations Task Group troops and their Afghan partners.

The Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Task Group, LTCOL P, said that winning combat operations was only half the challenge for the rapidly deployed force.

“A unique opportunity existed to provide a longer term solution because the local population was clearly emboldened to reject the insurgents and establish legitimate governance in Gizab,” LT COL P said

“Within the space of a few days, Gizab went from gun fighting to relative stability.

“Most of the decisive engagements at Gizab took place within the first 48 hours of the community-led uprising against the insurgents but we had already begun planning the restoration of local government in Gizab as the first shots were fired.” 

On 24 April the Special Operations Task Group command element escorted 20 Afghan government officials including the Governor of Oruzgan and tribal leaders into Gizab onboard ISAF helicopters.

“With community leaders and Government officials from Oruzgan taking the lead and the Australian and Afghan forces providing security, a large meeting was held in the centre of the town to nominate a new Gizab District Governor, a new District Chief of Police and their deputies,” LTCOL P said.

“The groundswell of popular support from the townspeople culminated in an impromptu ceremony in the middle of the town to raise the Flag of Afghanistan.

“To witness and support an Afghan community taking ownership of their security situation and rejecting the influence of the Taliban was an incredibly satisfying conclusion to an intense few days.

“And in the middle of it all, we managed to conduct an Anzac Day dawn service at Gizab,” LTCOL P said.

Gizab’s insurgent leaders have now been removed and the town is working with the Government of Afghanistan and ISAF with a view to establishing a permanent police force in the town in the near future. This is a solid step in a long and important journey in restoring peace in Afghanistan.

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Issued by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, ACT
Phone: 02 6127 1999 Fax: 02 6265 6946
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