Australia at war in Afghanistan: updated facts and figures

13 December 2013

PDF version [388KB]

Nathan Church
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security

Contents

Introduction

Australian military casualties

Table 1: Operation Slipper: ADF combat deaths

Afghan civilian casualties

Table 2: Civilian deaths in Afghanistan

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troop–contributing nations

Table 3: Coalition deaths by year

Table 4: ISAF country contributions and combat deaths

The continued prevalence of IEDs

Chart 1: IED attacks in Afghanistan (January 2008–December 2012)

Australian aid to Afghanistan

Table 5: Australia’s ODA to Afghanistan 2001–02 to 2013–14

Key Government statements on Australia’s military commitment to Afghanistan, September 2001–June 2013

Table 6: Key Australian Government statements

 

Introduction

This Research Paper updates material previously released by the Parliamentary Library regarding the Australian Defence Force (ADF) mission in Afghanistan.[1] This mission, which commenced in 2001, is now in its final stages and has transitioned in coordination with broader International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrangements.[2]  

Australia’s main operational hub in Tarin Kot will be closed at the end of 2013, which will signal the end of Australia’s combat role in Afghanistan.[3] At this time more than 1,000 ADF personnel will return to Australia, with the remainder to continue training the Afghan National Security Forces and building their capabilities throughout 2014.[4]

Australian military casualties

Since 2001, the ADF has suffered 40 combat deaths as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Table 1: Operation Slipper: ADF combat deaths[5]

Name Unit Incident Biography
Sergeant Andrew Russell Special Air Service Regiment Killed on 16 February 2002 when his patrol vehicle hit a land mine. Biography
Condolence motion
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Trooper David Pearce 2nd/14th Light
Horse Regiment
Killed on 8 October 2007 as a result of a roadside improvised explosive
device (IED) attack on the vehicle in which he was travelling.
Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Sergeant Matthew Locke Special Air Service Regiment Killed by Taliban insurgent small arms fire on 25 October 2007. Biography Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Luke Worsley 4th Battalion, Royal
Australian Regiment (Commando)
Killed during an attack on a Taliban bomb-making factory on 23 November 2007. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Lance Corporal Jason Marks 4th Battalion, Royal
Australian Regiment (Commando)
Killed by insurgent small arms fire on 27 April 2008. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Signaller Sean McCarthy Special Air Service Regiment Killed when the vehicle in which he was travelling was struck by an IED on 8 July 2008. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Lieutenant Michael Fussell 4th Battalion, Royal
Australian Regiment (Commando)
Killed by an IED while conducting a dismounted patrol on 27 November 2008. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Gregory Michael Sher 1st Commando Regiment Killed during a rocket attack on a military compound on 4 January 2009. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Corporal Mathew Ricky Andrew Hopkins 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed during an engagement with Taliban insurgents near Tarin Kot on 16 March 2009. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Sergeant Brett Till Incidents Response Regiment Killed while attempting to defuse a bomb on 19 March 2009. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Benjamin Ranaudo 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed by an IED on 18 July 2009. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Sapper Jacob Daniel Moerland 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment Killed by an IED on 7 June 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Sapper Darren James Smith 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment Killed by an IED on 7 June 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Private Timothy James Aplin 2nd Commando Regiment Killed in a helicopter crash on 21 June 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Benjamin Chuck 2nd Commando Regiment Killed in a helicopter crash on 21 June 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Scott Travis Palmer 2nd Commando Regiment Killed in a helicopter crash on 21 June 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Nathan Bewes 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed by an IED on 9 July 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Trooper Jason Thomas Brown Special Air Service Regiment Killed by Taliban insurgent small arms fire on 13 August 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Private Tomas Dale 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed by an IED on 20 August 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Private Grant Walter Kirby 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed by an IED on 20 August 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House Of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed in action during a fire-fight against Taliban insurgents on 24 August 2010. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry findings
Roll of Honour
Corporal Richard Atkinson 1st Combat Engineer Regiment Killed by an IED on 2 February 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Sapper Jamie Ronald Larcombe 1st Combat Engineer Regiment Killed in action during a fire-fight against insurgents on  19 February 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry report not publicly available
Roll of Honour
Sergeant Brett Wood 2nd Commando Regiment Killed by an IED on 23 May 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Lance Corporal Andrew Jones 9th Force Support Battalion Insider attack at patrol base Mashal, Chorah Valley, on 30 May 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Lieutenant Marcus Sean Case 6th Aviation Regiment Killed when an Australian Chinook helicopter crashed on 30 May 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Sapper Rowan Robinson Incident Response Regiment Killed during an engagement against insurgents on 6 June 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Sergeant Todd Matthew Langley 2nd Commando Regiment Killed during an engagement against insurgents on 4 July 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
Inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Private Matthew Lambert 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed by an IED on 22 August 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Captain Bryce Duffy 4th Field regiment Killed during a small arms engagement on 29 October 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Corporal Ashley Birt 1st Topographic Survey Squadron Killed during a small arms engagement on 29 October 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour   
Lance Corporal Luke Gavin 2nd battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Killed during a small arms engagement on 29 October 2011. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Sergeant Blaine Diddams Special Air Service Regiment Killed during small arms engagement 2 July 2012 Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment, Queensland Mounted Infantry Insider attack at patrol base Wahab, Baluchi Valley, on 29 August 2012. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Sapper James Martin 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Insider attack at patrol base Wahab, Baluchi Valley, on 29 August 2012. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Private Robert Poate 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Insider attack at patrol base Wahab, Baluchi Valley, on 29 August 2012. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald 2nd Commando Regiment Killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province on 30 August 2012. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Private Nathanael Galagher 2nd Commando Regiment Killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province on 30 August 2012. Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour
Corporal Scott Smith Special Operations Engineer Regiment Killed by an IED on 21 October 2012 Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour (11 November 2013)
Corporal Cameron Baird 2nd Commando Regiment Killed during an engagement with insurgents on 22 June 2013 Biography
Condolence motions: House of Representatives and Senate
No inquiry details
Roll of Honour (11 November 2013)

Afghan civilian casualties

Effectively identifying the conflict’s civilian casualties is problematic, due to ‘serious definitional problems in deciding what to report’.[6] Systematic collection of data about civilian casualties in Afghanistan only began in 2007.

One of the most reliable sources of information is the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), which provides periodic reporting on civilian casualties. The table below identifies the number of reported civilian casualties since 2007, with 2012 being the first full year to show a decline.

Table 2: Civilian deaths in Afghanistan[7]

2007 1523
2008 2118
2009 2412
2010 2790
2011 3131
2012 2754
2013 (up to June) 1319

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troop–contributing nations

As of 1 October 2013, the total indicative strength of ISAF troop–contributing countries was 86,834 military personnel. Collectively, these countries have had 3,397 of their personnel killed while on operations in Afghanistan.[8]

The year 2010 remains the most deadly year for coalition forces in Afghanistan. The ‘fighting season’ in the Afghan summer of that year witnessed one of the worst months with 103 ISAF military personnel killed in June (five of whom were Australian).[9] However in the following two years, the number of fatalities decreased by 43 per cent, probably due to Afghan forces having a stronger presence in operations as coalition forces transitioned to more of a support role.

Table 3: Coalition deaths by year[10]

Table 3: Coalition deaths by year

The majority of ISAF troop–contributing countries have commenced phased withdrawals of military forces in preparation for the 2014 deadline when full security responsibility is expected to be transferred to the ANSF.

Table 4: ISAF country contributions and combat deaths[11]

Contributing country Indicative authorised strength Fatalities
Albania 91 1
Armenia 131 0
Australia 1029 40
Austria 3 0
Azerbaijan 94 0
Belgium 193 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 79 0
Bulgaria 416 0
Canada 950 158
Croatia 187 0
Czech Republic 213 5
Denmark 249 43
El Salvador 24 0
Estonia 160 9
Finland 100 2
France 235 86
Georgia 1560 27
Germany 4400 54
Greece 8 0
Hungary 151 7
Iceland 3 0
Ireland 7 0
Italy 2826 48
Jordan 0 2
Latvia 141 3
Lithuania 96 1
Luxembourg 10 0
Malaysia 2 0
Mongolia 40 0
Montenegro 25 0
Netherlands 400 25
New Zealand 11 11
Norway 111 10
Poland 1553 38
Portugal 154 2
Republic of Korea 50 1
Romania 1022 21
Slovakia 199 1
Slovenia 35 0
Spain 414 34
Sweden 259 5
FYRO Macedonia 158 0
Tonga 55 0
Turkey 1041 14
Ukraine 14 0
United Arab Emirates 35 0
United Kingdom 7900 446
United States 60000 2292
Total 86834 3397 (includes 10 fatalities recorded as NATO personnel)

The continued prevalence of IEDs

Although insider attacks have received significant media attention, IED attacks remain the largest cause of ISAF casualties in Afghanistan. As with ISAF casualties generally, casualties from IED attacks have declined since 2010—in that year they were responsible for more than 50 per cent of ISAF fatalities.[12] ISAF’s Monthly Trend report noted that ‘insurgents continue to rely on IEDs as a principle means to execute their campaign’ and that ‘more than 60 per cent of civilian casualties caused by insurgents result from IED explosions’.[13]

According to the iCasaulties website, the proportion of ISAF fatalities as a result of IED attacks has fallen to 46 per cent in 2013, down from a peak of almost 60 per cent in 2009.[14] The following graph, produced by ISAF, demonstrates the number of executed IED attacks between January 2008 and December 2012:

Chart 1: IED attacks in Afghanistan (January 2008–December 2012)[15]

Chart 1: IED attacks in Afghanistan (January 2008–December 2012) 

Australian aid to Afghanistan

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, ‘the objective of Australia’s aid to Afghanistan is to build the capacity of the Afghan Government to deliver basic services and provide its people with opportunities to earn a livelihood’.[16] Including the current financial year, Australia has provided over $1.2 billion in official development assistance (ODA) to Afghanistan since 2001.

Table 5: Australia’s ODA to Afghanistan 2001–02 to 2013–14[17]

Year ODA (A$ millions)
2001–02 $26.5
2002–03 $21.5
2003–04 $23.7
2004–05 $22.8
2005–06 $20.7
2006–07 $77.2
2007–08 $137.9
2008–09 $155.9
2009–10 $113.3
2010–11 $111.3
2011–12 $198.4
2012–13 (estimated outcome) $182.8
2013-14 (budget estimate) $180.4
Total $1272.4

 

On 8 July 2012 Foreign Minister Carr signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on development cooperation with Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal.[18] The MoU sets out mutual ‘partnership priorities’ for Australian ODA to Afghanistan:

  • security: ‘achieve nationwide stabilisation, strengthen law enforcement, and improve personal security for every Afghan’
  • governance, rule of law and human rights: ‘strengthen democratic processes and institutions, human rights, the rule of law, delivery of public services and government accountability’ and
  • economic and social development: ‘reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development through a private-sector-led market economy, improve human development indicators, and make significant progress towards the [Millennium Development Goals]’.[19]

Key Government statements on Australia’s military commitment to Afghanistan, September 2001–June 2013

Table 6: Key Australian Government statements

Date Key points Sources
14 September 2001 Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Government was invoking Article IV of the Australia, New Zealand and the United States (ANZUS) Treaty in response to the terrorist attacks against the US. J Howard (Prime Minister), Application of ANZUS Treaty to terrorist attacks on the United States, media release, 14 September 2001.
3 December 2001 Defence Minister Robert Hill stated that the first of Australia’s initial contribution of 150 special forces personnel (the Special Forces Task Group) had arrived in Afghanistan. R Hill (Minister for Defence), Australian Defence Forces in Afghanistan, media release, 3 December 2001.
19 April 2002 Defence Minister Hill declared that Australia’s military commitment to operations in Afghanistan was in for ‘the long haul.' R Hill (Minister for Defence), Australian Defence Force contribution to the war against terrorism, media release, 19 April 2002.
20 November 2002 Defence Minister Robert Hill announced that the third rotation of Australia’s Special Forces Task Group would ‘complete Australia’s special forces contribution’ in Afghanistan. From 17 December 2002, Australia’s military commitment in Afghanistan would be minimal. R Hill (Minister for Defence), Australian Special Forces to return from Afghanistan, media release, 20 November 2002.
13 July 2005 Prime Minister John Howard announced that a 190 member Australian special forces element would return to Afghanistan for a period of twelve months in support of the ‘legitimate Government in Afghanistan.’ J Howard (Prime Minister), Troop deployment to Afghanistan, Telstra, Rau family, press conference transcript, 13 July 2005.
10 January 2006 Defence Minister Robert Hill announced that an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter detachment (two helicopters and 110 personnel) would be deployed to Afghanistan in March 2006. R Hill (Minister for Defence), Chinooks to deploy to Afghanistan, media release, 10 January 2006.
21 February 2006 The Australian Government announced that a 240-personnel ‘reconstruction task force’ would be deployed to Afghanistan in support of the Dutch-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Uruzgan Province for a ‘period of up to two years.’ J Howard (Prime Minister), Australian contribution to a provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan, media release, 21 February 2006.
9 August 2006 Prime Minister John Howard announced that 150 extra personnel would deploy to Afghanistan to ‘reinforce the reconstruction task force and to provide enhanced force protection.’ He also detailed Australia’s deployment to Afghanistan and defined ISAF’s revised mission. J Howard (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 August 2006, pp. 83–85.
10 April 2007 Prime Minister Howard revealed that another Special Forces Task Group, this time comprising around 300 personnel, would be deployed to Afghanistan. J Howard (Prime Minister), More troops for Afghanistan, media release, 10 April 2007.
19 February 2008 Following Labor’s election victory in November 2007, the new Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, announced that the Government would maintain its current commitment in Afghanistan but would place a new emphasis on training Afghan national army members. J Fitzgibbon, ‘Ministerial statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 February 2008, pp. 692–693.
23 February 2009 In a Ministerial statement to the House of Representatives on Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon noted Australia’s increased involvement in meetings about NATO-led operations in Afghanistan. Following the Defence Ministers meeting in Poland in February 2009, the goal was set for ISAF to train up to 130,000 ANSF members ‘in the not-too-distant future’. J Fitzgibbon (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 February 2009, p. 1429.
29 April 2009 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that Australia would increase its troop commitment in Afghanistan to 1,550 personnel. The increased troop level aimed to enhance the ADF’s training mission so that the Afghan National Army could take responsibility for security in Uruzgan Province much sooner. K Rudd (Prime Minister), Troop deployment in Afghanistan; COAG; welfare; tax bonus payments, press conference transcript, 29 April 2009.
12 August 2009 In a Ministerial Statement on Afghanistan, Defence Minister Faulkner stated his intention to provide regular updates to the Parliament on Australia’s role in Afghanistan. Senator J Faulkner (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, Senate, Debates, 12 August 2009, pp. 4743–4749.
28 January 2010 Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, announced that Australia would provide additional aid to Afghanistan to contribute to the goals laid out at the conference. S Smith (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Transcript: Doorstop at the London Conference on Afghanistan, media release, 28 January 2010.
18 March 2010 In his third parliamentary update on Afghanistan, Defence Minister Faulkner announced that the personnel strength currently deployed to Afghanistan would remain at 1,550 for the remainder of the year. J Faulkner (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, Senate, Debates, 18 March 2010, pp. 2252–2258.
23 June 2010 Defence Minister Faulkner announced that with the Dutch withdrawal scheduled for August 2010, ISAF agreed to new arrangements establishing a US-led multi-national command structure in Uruzgan province, which would comprise military and civilian elements. J Faulkner (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, Senate, Debates, 23 June 2010, pp. 4183–4188.
3 October 2010 The Prime Minister’s first official travel was to Afghanistan, thanking troops for their bravery and dedication. She raised the upcoming parliamentary debate about Afghanistan, which she regarded as an opportunity to highlight the ADF’s achievements people. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Address to Australian troops in Afghanistan, Tarin Kot’, media release, 3 October 2010.
4 October 2010 The Prime Minister noted that progress is being made in training and through the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and estimated a 2–4 year process of transition. Seeking flexible engagement with NATO in regards to partnership in Afghanistan. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Joint Press Conference with the Secretary General of NATO’, Brussels, transcript, 4 October 2010.
12 October 2010 Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the date for a formal parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. A commitment to hold this debate was contained in the Australian Labor Party-Greens Agreement signed following the August 2010 federal election. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Parliament to debate Australia's involvement in Afghanistan’, media release, 12 October 2010.
19 October 2010 Opening the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan, Prime Minister Julia Gillard highlighted Australia’s exit strategy for Afghanistan, stating: ‘The international community and the Afghan Government are agreed on a clear pathway forward.’ J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial Statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 October 2010, pp. 692–697.
23 March 2011 In a parliamentary update, the Defence Minister, focused on the transfer of security responsibility in Afghanistan, emphasising that ‘transition will be a process rather than a single event’ and that ‘we believe the Uruzgan transition process can occur over the next three years, between 2012 and 2014’. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 March 2011, pp. 2698–2971.
13 October 2011 Defence Minister Smith stated that Afghan forces were ‘on track’ to take over security in Uruzgan Province ‘by 2014’. He also confirmed that there would continue to be an Australian presence in Afghanistan after 2014. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 October 2011, pp. 11789–11792.
21 November 2011 Prime Minister Gillard updated parliament on the progress of Australia’s whole–of–government effort in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister reported on the progress made by ISAF and provided a plan for the next three years, where Australia would transition into more of a training role, with possible Special Forces mandate. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Prime Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 November 2011, pp. 12895–12900.
24 November 2011 Defence Minister Smith updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: detainee management and transfers and an update of detainee allegations. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 November 2011, pp. 13742–13747.
28 November 2011 Following President Karzai’s announcement of a second tranche of districts to be handed over to Afghan security responsibility, Prime Minister Gillard said that this ‘underlines the progress made this year’. J Gillard (Prime Minister), President Karzai’s transition announcement, media release, 28 November 2011.
3 February 2012 Defence Minister Smith indicated his belief that Afghan national security forces would play the lead security role in ‘most if not all’ of Afghanistan by mid-2013. Smith also noted there was a ‘good prospect’ that Uruzgan would be in the third tranche of territories to be handed over to Afghan security control. S Smith (Minister for Defence), Interview with Michael Rowland, ABC News Breakfast, transcript, media release, 3 February 2012.
9 February 2012 Defence Minister Smith emphasised that the international community needed to be making decisions about their post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan. Mr Smith also outlined key issues that the Government believed needed to be discussed at the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago (20–21 May 2012). S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 February 2012, pp. 531–534.
18 March 2012 Defence Minister Smith again noted that Australia expected that Uruzgan Province would be part of the ‘third tranche’ of areas to be transferred to Afghan security control. S Smith (Minister for Defence), Interview with Paul Bongiorno, Meet The Press, transcript, media release, 18 March 2012.
17 April 2012 Prime Minister Gillard foreshadowed the upcoming NATO/ISAF meetings in Brussels and Chicago and emphasised the success so far of the counterinsurgency mission in Afghanistan. The PM also flagged upcoming transition stages and the expectations for ongoing support in Afghanistan. J Gillard (Prime Minister) ‘We are serving our national interest in Afghanistan’, ASPI and Boeing National Security Luncheon, Canberra, speech, 17 April 2012.
19 April 2012 In their statement to the NATO/ISAF Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (16–19 April 2012), the Foreign and Defence Ministers outlined that Australia would be open to providing training and a Special Forces contribution—‘under the right mandate’—in addition to financial contributions to the ANSF. S Smith (Minister for Defence) and B Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Joint statement on Afghanistan, media release, 19 April 2012.
10 May 2012 In this parliamentary update, the Defence Minister focused on ‘detainee management’. Smith detailed the detainee management process, how it is monitored, and how allegations of mistreatment are dealt with. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 May 2012, pp. 4487–4490.
14 May 2012 On 13 May 2012 the Afghan Government announced a third set of geographical areas to start the transition process, including Uruzgan Province. J Gillard (Prime Minister) and S Smith (Minister for Defence), Transition in Afghanistan, media release, 14 May 2012.
16 May 2012 In the lead-up to the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago (20–21 May 2012), the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence announced that Australia would contribute $100 million annually for three years from 2015 ‘to help sustain and support Afghan National Security Forces beyond the transition process’. J Gillard (Prime Minister) and S Smith (Minister for Defence), Australia commits to ongoing stability in Afghanistan, media release, 16 May 2012.
20 May 2012 During the NATO Summit in Chicago Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Carr announced that Australian aid to Afghanistan would grow from $165 million per year—the 2011–12 budget figure—to $250 million per year by 2015–16. J Gillard (Prime Minister) and B Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Vital aid assistance to Afghanistan,media release, 20 May 2012.
20 May 2012 Also during the NATO Summit, Prime Minister Gillard and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed theComprehensive long-term partnership between Australia and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistanagreement. J Gillard (Prime Minister), Australia and Afghanistan sign long-term partnership, media release, 20 May 2012.
24 May 2012 Defence Minister Smith updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: outcomes from the NATO/ISAF Chicago Summit, ADF and civilian casualties, and detainee management issues. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 May 2012, pp. 5459–5462.
31 May 2012 The Government announced that Australia was taking on the leadership role of Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU).  There would be no change in average troop numbers or ‘authorised strength’. Australia would take command of CTU in late 2012. S Smith (Minister for Defence), Press conference: Combined Team Uruzgan, transcript, media release, 31 May 2012.
8 July 2012 Australia signed a MoU with the Government of Afghanistan to facilitate Australia’s development assistance contribution between 2012 and 2017. This would focus on education, rural development and financial and electoral management. B Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Australia’s roadmap for Afghan aid: education, jobs and governance, media release, 8 July 2012.
17 July 2012 The Australian Government welcomed the formal start of the transition process in Uruzgan, noting that the transition ‘is on track for completion over the next 12 to 18 month period’. J Gillard (Prime Minister), B Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and S Smith (Minister for Defence),Uruzgan province begins transition, media release, 17 July 2012.
16 August 2012 Defence Minister Smith updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: Australian and civilian casualties, high profile attacks by the Taliban, ‘green on blue’ incidents, detainee management, allegations of mistreatment made against Australian personnel. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 August 2012, pp. 1–5.
29 August 2012 Prime Minister’s response to the recent deaths of five soldiers in Afghanistan, due to an insider attack and a separate helicopter crash. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Deaths of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan’, transcript, media release, 29 August 2012.
9 October 2012 Defence Minister Smith’s fifth visit to Afghanistan, where he discussed transition progress with ISAF commanders and local Afghan leaders. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Minister for Defence visits Afghanistan’, media release, 9 October 2012.
14 October 2012 Prime Minister’s speech to troops in Afghanistan, emphasising the importance of the mission in response to acts of terrorism, such as the Bali bombings and 9/11 attacks. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Remarks to Australian troops in Afghanistan’, media release, 14 October 2012.
31 October 2012 Prime Minister Gillard updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: the progress of transition arrangements, Australia’s whole-of-government effort including AusAID and the AFP, and the need for resolve in supporting Afghanistan post-2014. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Ministerial Statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 October 2012, pp. 12727–12731
22 November 2012 Defence Minister Smith announced that all four Infantry Kandaks of the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade were now operating independently and had taken control of Forward Operating Bases and Patrol Bases in Uruzgan. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Transition in Afghanistan’, media release, 22 November 2012.
7 February 2013 Defence Minister Smith updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: transition arrangements, reconciliation process, Australia’s post-2014 mission, and support to veterans, including mental health issues such as PTSD. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statement: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 7 February 2013, pp. 377-381.
20 February 2013 Defence Minister Smith discussed transition progress with senior Afghan officials (including President Karzai) and ISAF commanders. Also discussed was the reconciliation process and the post-2014 international commitment to Afghanistan. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Minister for Defence visit to Afghanistan’, media release, 20 February 2013.
26 March 2013 The Prime Minister and Minister for Defence welcome ISAF decision to close the Multi National Base – Tarin Kot at the end of 2013. Following this closure, the majority of Australian forces would return home from Afghanistan. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘Transition Milestone in Uruzgan Province’, media release, 26 March 2013.
16 April 2013 Defence Minister Smith’s speech covered a range of topics including the current status of the ADF transition in Afghanistan, Australia’s post-2014 mission, Australian relations with the US and NATO, and support to veterans, particularly addressing mental health issues. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Drawdown from Afghanistan and implications for the 2013 White Paper’, speech, 16 April 2013.
3 May 2013 Prime Minister Gillard provided a summary of the current ADF transition arrangements and indicated Australia would be prepared to provide training (and possibly Special Forces) assistance post-2014. J Gillard (Prime Minister), ‘2013 Defence White Paper: Afghanistan’, media release, 3 May 2013.
16 May 2013 Defence Minister Smith updated the parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, largely regarding detainee management and his responses to allegations of misconduct by Australian personnel while in Afghanistan. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 May 2013, pp. 3439–3443.
19 June 2013 Defence Minister Smith updated parliament on a number of aspects of Australia’s commitment to the conflict, including: current strategy/mission and transition arrangements, Australia’s post-2014 role, the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process, and awards from operations in Afghanistan. S Smith (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statements: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 June 2013, pp. 6222–6225.
28 July 2013 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Afghanistan to thank the troops and noted the improvements made in education and infrastructure. K Rudd (Prime Minister), ‘Prime Minister Rudd visits troops in Afghanistan’, media release, 28 July 2013.
6 August 2013 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attended the opening of an Afghanistan exhibition at the Australian War Memorial and provided personal reflections on Australia’s involvement in the conflict. K Rudd (Prime Minister), ‘Afghanistan: The Australian story; opening speech’, media release, 6 August 2013.
23 October 2013 Defence Minister David Johnston addressed the ISAF Defence Ministers’ meeting in Brussels, and discussed Australia’s ongoing training mission in Afghanistan during 2014, and probably beyond. D Johnston (Minister for Defence), ‘Address to the ISAF Defence Ministers’ meeting’, media release, 23 October 2013.
28 October 2013 Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Afghanistan for a ceremony to mark Australia’s drawdown in the conflict, and the cessation of the PRT. He also reaffirmed Australia would support Afghanistan beyond 2014. T Abbott (Prime Minister), ‘Visit to Afghanistan’, media release, 28 October 2013; ‘Address at Recognition Ceremony’, 28 October 2013; ‘Transcript of remarks to troops’, October 28 2013.
12 November 2013 Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the parliament to discuss his recent visit to Afghanistan with the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. In acknowledging the progress made so far, he also presented some artefacts given by the Uruzgan Governor as gifts. T Abbott (Prime Minister), ‘Statements on Indulgence: Afghanistan’, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 November 2013, p. 26.
11 December 2013 Defence Minister David Johnston updated parliament on the conclusion of operations in Uruzgan province, as well as Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan post-2014. D Johnston (Minister for Defence), ‘Ministerial Statements: Afghanistan’, Senate, Speech, 11 December 2013, pp. 1-8.

 

 

 


 

[1].      N Brangwin, M Harris and D Watt, Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan: revised facts and figures, Background note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 12 September 2012, accessed 14 August 2013; N Brangwin, Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan—update, FlagPost weblog, 10 June 2011, accessed 14 August 2013; N Brew, N Brangwin, M Harris, R Tomar, and D Watt, Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan—frequently asked questions, FlagPost weblog, 15 October 2010, accessed 14 August 2013; and N Brangwin, Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan since 2001: a chronology, Background note, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 16 July 2010, accessed 14 August 2013.

[2].      North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Chicago summit declaration on Afghanistan, Chicago, NATO website, 21 May 2012, accessed 14 August 2013.

[3].      S Smith (Minister for Defence), Paper presented on Afghanistan, media release, 19 June 2003.

[4].      Department of Defence, Australian Special Forces contribution to the International Security Assistance Force train, advise and assist mission in 2014, media release, 12 August 2013.

[5].      Department of Defence, Battle casualties, Department of Defence website, updated 3 September 2012, accessed 14 August 2013; Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial website, accessed 14 August 2013; and Parliament of Australia, House of Representatives and Senate, Debates, various dates, accessed 14 August 2013.

[6].      A Cordesman, Coalition, ANSF and civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict from 2001 through August 2012, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 4 September 2012, p. 2, accessed 14 August 2013.

[7].      Ibid; United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Afghanistan: mid–year report 2013: protection of civilians in armed conflict, United Nations, Kabul, July 2013, accessed 28 November 2013.

[8].      International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Key facts and figures, ISAF website, 1October 2013, accessed 4 December 2013; iCasualties, Operation Enduring Freedom: Afghanistan, iCasualties website, accessed 17 September 2013.

[9].      Ibid.

[10].    iCasualties, Fatalities by year and month, op cit.

[11].     ISAF, Key facts and figures, ISAF website, 1 August 2013, accessed 17 September 2013; iCasualties website, op. cit.

[12].    iCasualties website, op. cit.

[13].    ISAF, Monthly trends, 22 January 2013, accessed 26 November 2013.

[14].    iCasualties website, op. cit.

[15].    ISAF, Monthly trends, op. cit.

[16].    DFAT, Afghanistan, DFAT website, accessed 26 November 2013.

[17].    AusAID, Statistical summaries, various years, accessed 25 June 2013; AusAID, Annual reports, various years, accessed 25 June 2013; and B Carr (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Budget: Australia’s international development assistance program 2013–14, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 14 May 2013, accessed 25 June 2013.

[18].    Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Government of Australia, Memorandum of Understanding: ‘development framework agreement’: 2012–2017, 8 July 2012, accessed 14 August 2013.

[19].    Ibid., p. 3.

 

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