Aussie forces open new Afghan base

The new patrol base Musazai provides secure accommodation for about 50 troops mid-way between two other patrol bases.

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On August 20, partway through the construction of the facility, insurgents launched a major attack that lasted an hour. with Australian troops and engineers calling in support from a coalition Apache helicopter, which fired its 30mm cannon and Hellfire missiles.

Commander of the Australian mentoring task force Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings said the insurgents were threatened by this base, unsuccessfully attacking it a number of times during the course of its construction.

“Obviously the insurgents did not want this base to proceed and tried their hardest to slow down its construction,” he said in a statement.

“The Mirabad Valley is a strategically important region with a history of violence in recent years.

“Combined with two nearby outposts, the base will have a significant and enduring impact on security in the Mirabad Valley and will empower the Afghan Security Forces to protect their communities long into the future.”

Project manager Major Carl Miller said the local community was consulted throughout the construction process along with key government stakeholders in Tarin Kowt.

He said from inception back in April, the plan was to build a patrol house that could accommodate the Afghan National Army and coalition force presence in the Mirabad Valley.

“And that’s what we’ve done – it’s like a big, significantly fortified house,” he said in a statement.

“The base can accommodate over 50 people and is strengthened by a ringed perimeter fence, two guard towers and an over-watch position. It includes air-conditioning and kitchen facilities.”