SAF troops in Kuwait making valuable contribution to anti-ISIS coalition: Ng Eng Hen

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen meeting members of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Imagery Analysis Team (IAT) in Kuwait.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen meeting members of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Imagery Analysis Team (IAT) in Kuwait. PHOTO: MINDEF
Dr Ng (second from left) and Non-Resident Ambassador to Kuwait Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed (third from left) being briefed on the operations of the SAF IAT.
Dr Ng (second from left) and Non-Resident Ambassador to Kuwait Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed (third from left) being briefed on the operations of the SAF IAT. PHOTO: MINDEF

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) troops deployed in Kuwait are doing valuable work that protects Singaporeans and Singapore, by helping to disrupt the operations of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Friday (Dec 9).

The SAF’s Imagery Analysis Team provides support to the counter-ISIS coalition and has been in Kuwait since last year (2015). They are contributing to the battle against terror, said Dr Ng, after meeting the 11-man team at the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters there. 

“All of us recognise that unless you attack terrorism at the source, you will not be able to stop this radicalisation, stop them from exporting terrorism. And even in our part of the world, many thousands of kilometres away from here, you have many people, hundreds in Malaysia, larger numbers in Indonesia and a handful of Singaporeans who are radicalised,” he said.

Dr Ng was travelling to Bahrain to attend the International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue, where he will speak on Saturday (Dec 10) at a plenary session on “Combating Extremism in the Middle East and Beyond”.

Since counter-ISIS operations by an international coalition started in 2014, the footprint of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has shrunk significantly, and coalition forces are trying to liberate key cities and bring them back for the mainstream governments, Dr Ng said.

The Imagery Analysis Team offers unique support to the coalition, by turning raw images into useful intelligence products, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Friday.

Dr Ng added that the troops’ morale is very good, and commanders he spoke to were deeply appreciative for their work.

“They know that this job that they are doing here is very serious and what they do here protects Singaporeans and Singapore,” he said of the team. 

“And I want to encourage them to continue to do it. We are making progress and we will continue to add other contributions that we deem beneficial for this fight against terror,” he added.