Thailands Military Multinational Support

Support to Operation Enduring Freedom After the conflict between the U.S. ? U.

K. led alliance and the Taliban ended in late 2001, Thailand was invited by the U.S.

A to pledge support to the mission in Afghanistan through the Donor Conference in Japan in January 2002 whether it be under the auspices of the United Nations or the Alliance . An Engineering Battalion was made ready to support both ISAF and the Alliance at the planning stage in July 2002. When it was clear that airfield reconstruction in Bagram was vital to the maintenance of security for peace operations in the country, Thailand provided a construction Engineering Unit of 130 personnel to the Coalition Headquarters in Bagram to join the reconstruction efforts. This operation was the first mission that the Government had funded from its own budget. The Japanese Self Defense Naval Forces provided Thailand with strategic sea lift for the engineering equipment to Afghanistan.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF) has also run routine monthly supply flights from Thailand to Afghanistan. The Thai Engineering Unit has provided excellent construction and engineering services as part of the joint efforts in Bagram. In concert with this military assistance in Bagram, the Government also assisted in humanitarian projects elsewhere in Kabul and around the country. Support to the Operation Iraqi Freedom On August 5, 2003, Thailand committed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom", for a one-year term with 6-month rotations.

The Thai-Iraq Humanitarian Task Force, with its strength of 443 personnel, was tailored to conduct reconstruction tasks, Civil Military Operations (CMO) and humanitarian assistance. It consists of an Engineer Battalion, six level-one medical teams, one CMO team and one self-protection platoon. It deployed to Karbala in September 2003 under the Multinational Division Central South (MND-CS) with a mandate to provide engineer support, CIMIC and humanitarian assistance to MND-CS stabilization operations in the sector, with the aim of creating a secure and stable environment for transition to post hostility and civic administration.

In addition to tasks assigned by MND-CS, the Thai Task Force also launched its own CIMIC and HA projects. Widely cooperating with Thai Non-Governmental Organizations, the Task Force has been in charge of transferring donations monthly from Thai citizens to Iraqis using a Thai C-130 Hercules. Other Humanitarian projects include: the donation of medical equipment and medicine to a local hospital in Karbala; the building of several road in the AOR, allowing increased aid to be brought into the area; the renovation and reopening of schools; the construction of community sport grounds; the establishment of a medical treatment clinic; and the establishment of rural health care teams. Additional Support To Regional and Global Support to Peacekeeping ? United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) ? United Nations Guard Contingent in Iraq (UNGCI) ? The 2nd Engineer Battalion Task Force for Demining Operations in Cambodia (UNTAC) ? United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) ? Royal Thai Armed Forces Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor (INTERFET, UNTAET, UNMISET) ? Aceh Ceasefire Monitoring Mission United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and UN resolutions 687and 689, the UN Security Council, acting under chapter VII of the UN Charter, established UNIKOM with a mandate to monitor the DMZ and the Khawr'Abd Allah Waterway between Iraq and Kuwait; to deter violations of the boundary; and to observe any hostile action mounted from the territory of one State against the other. Thailand sent Military Observers to the DMZ for 1 year. United Nations Guard Contingent in Iraq (UNGCI) After the end of the Gulf War in 1991, on 18 June 1991 , the United Nations approached the Thai government for the participation of Thai personnel in the security force.

The cabinet approved the request and sent 50 personnel from the Supreme Command Headquarters, Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy and Royal Thai Air Force to join the UN security force. The Thai personnel departed for duty 8 days later. The main mission of the guard contingent was to protect the lives and properties of the United Nations. They were to provide security to UNHCR staff, food and medical supplies depots and UNCGI Headquarters as well as local staff working for UNHCR, escort convoys of supplies for assistance to refugees, and reconnoiter refugee sites in the area of responsibility.

The Thai contingents successfully carried out their mission and were awarded with "Mission Bar" by the UNGCI Commander. The 2nd Engineer Battalion Task Force for De-mining Operations in Cambodia (UNTAC) The devastation and danger of landmines from the conflict in Cambodia were obstacles to United Nations operations. In January 1992, the United Nations Secretary General requested Thailand to send an engineer battalion to join UNAMIC in clearing landmines in Cambodia and repairing bridges, roads, buildings and public utilities. In February 1992, the cabinet approved an engineer battalion task force consisting of 705 personnel from Thailand to participate in UNAMIC.

Their mission was to repair roads, bridges, and airfields, conduct engineer reconnaissance, clear landmines and provide general engineer support to UNAMIC units in the area of responsibility. The 2nd Engineer Battalion Task Force successfully completed their mission and was commended by Thai senior commanders as well as the United Nations and contributing nations. United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) Due to the chaotic situation in Sierra Leone since March 1991, the United Nations Security Council passed the resolution in April 1998 to restore peace and security in Sierra Leone . The United Nations requested military observer support from member countries and Thailand agreed to the request.

On 28 September 1999 , the cabinet approved in principle, to support the United Nations. The Royal Thai Armed Forces provided a team of five officers from the Supreme Command Headquarters and the Services, to serve in the United Nations mission for a one-year term. The first group began their mission on 31 October 1999 and was replaced in October each year. At present, the fourth group is approaching the end of their tenure. UNOMSIL was later called UNAMSIL to broaden the scope of operations by employing United Nations force to replace forces from the Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Larry Westfall is a frequent traveler to Pattaya and owner of Pattaya-Accommodations
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