Thursday 27 June 2013

SAF ends Afghan deployment

By Fabian Koh, The Straits Times, 26 Jun 2013

WITH Afghanistan's forces in the final stages of taking over responsibility for their country's security, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) concluded its deployment there last Saturday.

A ceremony, which signalled the end of its campaign at the Multinational Base Tarin Kowt in the province Oruzgan, was attended by SAF's Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh. He also called on Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General Joseph Dunford, in Kabul.

The American praised Singapore's contribution to the Afghan effort, from training artillery forces down to medical support. "All those contributions by Singapore have truly made a difference," Gen Dunford said.

The SAF has deployed close to 500 personnel to Afghanistan since May 2007 as part of ISAF, contributing expertise in areas such as humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts, as well as training the Afghan security forces.

Said Captain Jason Kwek, 33, who served in Afghanistan for the past four months: "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."

Describing this overseas deployment as one of the longest and most wide-ranging for the SAF, MG Singh said: "We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the global fight against terrorism and help the Afghan people."

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