Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chief of Army Visits Singapore Armed Forces' Troops in Afghanistan

Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Chan Chun Sing visited the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) troops in Afghanistan yesterday. At Kabul, MG Chan met the SAF institutional trainers deployed in an artillery school there, where he was updated by the team leader, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Nicholas Seow, on the efforts to train the Afghan National Army. While in Kabul, he also met the Deputy Commander of the International Security Assistance Force Lieutenant General James Bucknall. At the same time, Republic of Singapore Air Force Chief of Staff Air Staff, Brigadier-General Hoo Cher Mou, visited the SAF's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Task Group and the Weapon Locating Radar team deployed in Uruzgan province.

MG Chan also visited the SAF Construction Engineering Team (CET) in Bamiyan province. In a ceremony held earlier, the SAF handed over the Foladi Comprehensive Health Clinic (FCHC) to the local Afghan authorities. The six-man SAF CET funded and supervised the construction of the clinic. The team had been deployed with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team since May 2010. FCHC is expected to serve 10,000 families in Foladi and the surrounding villages.

With the successful completion of the FCHC by the 2010 CET deployment, the SAF has concluded its deployments to Bamiyan province. Compared to 2007, civilian aid groups and the local authorities in the province now have a greater capacity to carry out the type of work which the SAF's CETs have been doing. The conclusion of SAF's deployment to Bamiyan will allow the SAF to focus on other ongoing deployments in Afghanistan.

During his visit to Bamiyan, MG Chan expressed his appreciation to the SAF's partners in Bamiyan, in particular the New Zealand Defence Force, for the support they have provided for the SAF's deployment. He also thanked the local Afghans for their hospitality and assistance.

The SAF's first deployment to assist in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan was a dental detachment to Bamiyan province in 2007. Over the past four years, the SAF has deployed four CETs to Bamiyan, making significant contributions to the province. The work of the SAF's CETs have focused mainly on improving healthcare in Bamiyan by funding and supervising the construction of a Paediatric and Women's Ward extension at the Bamiyan Provincial Hospital, a Regional Health Training Centre and the FCHC as well as setting up a dental clinic at the hospital.The SAF CETs also funded and supervised the construction of two bridges, a culvert and a water supply project to improve the infrastructure in Bamiyan. The teams also supervised the delivery of humanitarian assistance supplies to the local populace.

The SAF currently has a 21-man Weapon Locating Radar team and a 52-man Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Task Group deployed in Uruzgan province. The SAF has also deployed a 4-man team of institutional trainers to the artillery school in Kabul.

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