In May 2006 HQ ARRC assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) (Rotation IX) in Afghanistan. The mission of the ISAF headquarters at that time 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 the ARRC's nine-month tenure in Afghanistan as the ISAF headquarters the ISAF area of operations doubled in size to encompass the whole country. As a result ISAF troop numbers grew from 9,500 to more than 35,000.
The period of 2006-07 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 areas encompassed by Regional Commands South and East, ISAF forces were involved in significant and decisive combat operations against Taliban insurgents. Although combat operations in the South and East captured the majority of headlines, ISAF headquarters 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.
Additionally, with the expansion of the ISAF area of operations, ISAF forces shared for the first time a common border with Pakistan and ISAF headquarters was active in strengthening the links between the two.
Whilst NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan continues today, HQ ARRC was able to establish the framework and lay the foundation for long term programmes.