Op Athena Rotation 4

21 July 2005

Canada extended the mandate of its reconnaissance squadron based at Camp Julien near Kabul until late this fall with, starting in August 2005, the fifth deployment (Rotation 4) to Operation ATHENA, the Canadian contribution to ISAF. In doing so, the CF continues to provide ISAF with key intelligence, situational awareness, and helps facilitate the Afghan National Assembly and Provincial Council elections process.

As part of Operation ATHENA, Canadian soldiers conduct regular surveillance missions in the ISAF area of responsibility. They are also involved in a number of projects in cooperation with other members of the ISAF team. Of the 900 troops deployed on Operation ATHENA, about 700 are based at Camp Julien in Kabul; the rest are deployed elsewhere in southwest Asia in support of the mission.

Most of the CF personnel deploying on the fifth six-month rotation come from Land Force Central Area in Ontario. The CF is deploying the following forces during this rotation of Operation ATHENA:

  • An armoured reconnaissance squadron group with Coyotes and LAV IIIs, based on a squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) with an infantry element from the 3 rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR);
  • An engineer squadron from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, Petawawa, providing engineer support;
  • An infantry company from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR), which is responsible for force protection at Camp Julien;
  • A Health Support Services unit from 2 Field Ambulance that provides medical and dental support to the Task Force;
  • A National Support Element from 2 Service Battalion, Petawawa, responsible for delivering centralized administrative and logistics support services;
  • A National Command Element that links the Chief of the Defence Staff in Ottawa with Commander Task Force Afghanistan (TFA) and his command structure;
  • An airlift element in Camp Mirage, the Canadian support base located in southwest Asia, operating CC-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft; and
  • An infantry element from Land Force Central Area is also responsible for force protection in Camp Mirage.
After the Afghan National Assembly and Provincial Council elections scheduled for the fall of 2005, Camp Julien will close and remaining assets will move to Kandahar in preparation for the February 2006 deployment of a 250-strong brigade headquarters and an army task force of about 1,000 soldiers, which are expected to be in Kandahar for nine and 12 months respectively.

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