Australian Defence Force Task Group Taji Operation a Success
Australian Defence Force Task Group Taji Operation a Success

Australian Defence Force Task Group Taji Operation a Success

Task Group Taji has successfully finished its mission in Iraq after five years on operations, training and assisting the Iraq Security Forces (ISF) in their fight against the terrorist organisation Daesh.

The Australian and New Zealand combined task force contributed to the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve, training more than 47,000 Iraqi troops through 10 periods of instruction.

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Commander of Task Group Taji 10 – the final rotation – Colonel Nick Foxall, said the Iraq Security Forces had worked towards building a premier training institution and the School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officer II (SINCO II) was now widely admired.

“Australian and New Zealand force elements worked with the Baghdad Fighting School and concentrated on foundation warfighting techniques,” Colonel Foxall said.

“The change in name to SINCO II reflected the maturity and professional development of the organisation and the Iraqis began to take more control of their learning environment.”

Iraq has been through major social and political upheaval since the emergence of Daesh in 2014.

Australian Defence Force Task Group Taji Operation a Success
Australian Army soldier, Corporal Luke McFarlane, deployed with Task Group Taji 9, observes an Iraqi Army soldier clearing a 12.7mm Browning machine gun during a live-fire training exercise at the Besmayah training area, Iraq. (ABIS Chris Beerens/Commonwealth of Australia)

In campaigns supported by Operation Inherent Resolve and its coalition partners, the Iraq Security Forces were able to regain control of key areas in Iraq, which led to the territorial defeat of Daesh in March 2019.

In November 2019, the SINCO II academy reached final operating capability and training responsibilities were handed back to the Government of Iraq – a significant milestone for the country.

The current Commander of Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, said it had been a privilege to serve alongside our Iraqi friends.

“The Task Group Taji rotations have shown the best of Australia and New Zealand and supported the ISF, who have shown amazing strength and growth,” Major General Coyle said.

“SINCO II is an exemplar of hard work and dedication, which will serve the ISF well for many years to come.”

The ADF will remain engaged in Iraq, supporting security and stability through ongoing contributions to the global coalition against Daesh.

Australia will continue to provide advice and assistance to the Iraq Counter Terrorism Service, support for coalition air capabilities and continue to embed Australian Defence Force staff in coalition positions.

Australian Defence Force Task Group Taji Operation a Success
Iraqi Army soldiers watch on as a structure is breached during the Officer and Junior Leaders Course held at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. (ABIS Chris Beerens/Commonwealth of Australia)
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