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Tim Coulter - Toowoomba

From instructing at the Army Recruit Training Centre to the Jungle Training Wing in far-north Queensland, Captain Tim Coulter is well-versed in the delivery of training.

Today, the Toowoomba raised infantry officer, is transferring that knowledge to develop the future leaders of the Afghan National Army (ANA) on Operation Highroad.

Based at Camp Qargha on the outskirts of Kabul Province, Captain Coulter is a mentor embedded with the UK-led advisory effort at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA).

His role is to mentor the Afghan Platoon Commanders, known in Dari as “Blook Commanders”, who are teaching the academy’s three Kandaks comprising more than 1000 officer cadets.

Captain Coulter said the mentoring effort at ANAOA will extend far past the academy and into the provinces, where hard fighting continues against multiple insurgencies gripping the country.

“Being a mentor allows us to work alongside our Afghan counterparts and to impart our knowledge on the future officers of the ANA who are currently taking the fight to the Taliban,” he said.

Following the commencement of the Spring Offensive, Afghanistan has made headlines in international news with a number of high-profile attacks across the province.

However Captain Coulter said insurgent attacks only motivate the ANA Officer Cadets to train harder.

“When they see or hear about incidents, it grounds them and adds realism to the training,” he said.

“The students understand that the training conducted here is vital to what they’re going to be doing when they graduate and move out to the wider ANA, so when attacks occur we see a spike in attendance.”

The Advisory team at ANAOA comprises about 60 multinational military personnel, including officers and non-commissioned officers from the UK, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia.

Having been previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, Captain Coulter is acutely aware of the hard-won security gains and progress made towards building a stronger Afghanistan.

“Getting to see the ANA again and how much they’ve progressed over the last seven years, has been really gratifying,” he said.

“Our support will hopefully enable the government of Afghanistan to achieve their mission and defeat the insurgents - what we’re doing here will have a lasting effect throughout the country.”

Around 270 personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed on Operation Highroad as part of Australia’s commitment to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.