ISAF IX - ARRC Deployment to Afghanistan
In May 2006, HQ ARRC assumed command of HQ International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) IX in Afghanistan. ISAF is considered by many to be the most significant and demanding operation in NATO’s history. Much of the success of ISAF IX can be attributed to the professionalism and determination of those serving within the HQ ARRC Group. The HQ ISAF IX mission was to:
"Conduct military operations in the assigned Joint Operational Area, in support of Afghan National Security Forces and in coordination with Coalition Forces, and in accordance with the relevant international accords to assist the Government of Afghanistan to extend and maintain authority.”
During HQ ISAF IX’s nine months tenure in Afghanistan, the ISAF Area of Operations was doubled in size to encompass the whole country and ISAF troop numbers grew from 9,500 to more than 35,000.
This was a period of intense activity, with continuous and growing ISAF engagement in the political, military, security, humanitarian and developmental fields at local, regional and occasionally international levels.
Following the expansion into the volatile Regions South and East, ISAF forces were involved in significant and decisive combat operations against Taliban insurgents. Although combat operations in the South and East were, and continue to capture the majority of headlines, HQ ISAF IX focused efforts across all lines of operation to ensure the coherence and synchronisation of regional and national operations in the fight against the insurgency. Much work was undertaken to reinforce the relationship with the Government of Afghanistan with COMARRC, in his role as COMISAF, becoming an active member of the Afghan Presidential Advisory Group.
Also, with the expansion of the ISAF area of operations, ISAF forces shared for the first time a common border with Pakistan and HQ ISAF IX was active in strengthening the links with this critical.
Whilst NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan will clearly continue in the future, HQ ARRC was able to establish the framework and lay the foundation for long term programmes.