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Department of Defence
Media Release


28/07/2006 MECC 174/06
Defence Media Release




Australian troops have departed Camp Smitty in Al Muthanna province after completing their mission to provide a secure environment for the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group (JIRSG). Following the recent departure of the Japanese, the last Australian and United Kingdom personnel left Camp Smitty on 26 July after signing the facility over to the Al Muthanna Provincial Council.


The 470 Australian troops have now moved to Camp Terendak at the Tallil airbase in the nearby Dhi Qar province, to commence a new role as the Overwatch Battle Group (West) as part of the Multi-National Division – South East (Iraq).


Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has praised the men and women of the Al Muthanna Task Group and the success they have achieved during the course of their important mission.


“Our three rotations of personnel to Al Muthanna have provided an outstanding contribution to the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the province. Their success across a range of tasks has helped considerably with the transition of Al Muthanna to Iraqi control. All Australians can be justifiably proud of the work performed since May 2005”, Air Chief Marshal Houston said. 


In their new role at Tallil, the Australian troops will provide support to Iraqi Security Forces in a crisis if requested by the Iraqi Government and the Multi-National Force - Iraq. The involvement of Australian forces in any crisis situation will be subject to Australian Government approval. The ADF will also continue training Iraqi Army personnel at the Basic Training Centre in Tallil. 


The Overwatch Battle Group is looking forward to its new role, maintaining its engagement with the people of Al Muthanna from its new location. The men and women of the Overwatch Battle Group have built strong and trusted relationships with provincial leaders and the Iraqi Army in Al Muthanna, who they have supported and mentored throughout their deployment to that province. This relationship will continue through regular visits as part of their overwatch duties.


Australian troops arrived at Camp Smitty in May 2005 and have made a significant contribution to the Al Muthanna province. As well as providing security to the Japanese troops, the Australians provided training to the 2nd Brigade of the Iraqi Army’s 10th Division, which is now playing a key role in providing security in Al Muthanna Province. 



The Australian task group also managed a Civil Military Cooperation Program which employed local people to undertake work that will benefit their own communities. 19 projects have been completed including: renovation of a grain silo, abattoir, and media centre (to support radio, television and print media), establishment of a veterinary centre, ambulance station and mobile health clinic supporting a doctor, dentist and optometrist. 


The departure of the Australian troops follows the transfer of security responsibility in Al Muthanna to the Iraqi Government on 13 July. The transfer of security to Provincial Iraqi Control in Al Muthanna province is an important step towards the Iraqi Government taking control of its own security across Iraq. 


Note: For editors, imagery of the Overwatch Group at Camp Terendak at Tallil Air base is available at  



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Defence Media Liaison          (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664





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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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