Task Group Taji Force Protection

An Australian Task Group Taji Quick Reaction Force soldier mans a MAG GSMG mounted in a Bushmaster PMV-M providing direct security for British Army personnel evacuated from Al Asad Air Base on January 7 ahead of the Iranian missile attack. Pic DVIDS

25 FEBRUARY 2020

IRAQ: The Force Protection element from Task Group Taji X (TGT10) has been at the centre of significant upgrading of security arrangements at the Taji Military Centre since the surge in Iranian influenced rocket and missile attacks targeting Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) facilities and personnel escalated late in 2019.

Task Group Taji X rotated in place with Task Group Taji IX in late November 2019, formally taking responsibility for the Advise Assist and Enable mission at Taji on December 5.

Task Group Taji X fields a reduced Force Protection element and a School Mentoring Team tasked with assisting the Iraqi School of Infantry NCO2 instructional team to provide training and operational readiness programs for rotating Iraqi combat manoeuvre elements to enable them to conduct Population Centric Counter Insurgency and Stabilisation Operations in areas liberated from Islamic State.

Task Group Taji X's security element is predominantly drawn from the Robertson Barracks NT based 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) with an embedded New Zealand Army security detachment (undisclosed).

The campaign of provocative rocket attacks on CJTF-OIR bases across Iraq which culminated in the US led attack on the Hash'd al Shaabi (Iraqi Government recognised but Iranian Government funded Shiite militias) Kait'ab Hezbollah and the follow on Iranian ballistic missile attacks on CJTF-OIRs facility at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq on January 8, saw Task Group Taji's security arrangements drastically altered as threat levels rose to extreme levels.

During the height of tensions with Iran in January after the targeted killing of Iranian Quds Force supremo General Iranian Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimani and six other senior Iranian and Iraqi militia commanders in Baghdad on January 3, Task Group Taji's security elements played a pivotal role in base security and also provided direct security to Coalition troop movements into Taji from less secure CJTF-OIR locations.

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