Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne visited Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel in Afghanistan and the Middle East to acknowledge their service and efforts safeguarding Australian interests.
Minister Payne yesterday thanked personnel in Afghanistan for their ongoing dedication and commitment.
“ADF personnel serving in Afghanistan are playing a vital role in supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission as it continues to develop the capability of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” Minister Payne said.
During the visit to Afghanistan, Minister Payne met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to hear his assessment of the current security situation and to reiterate Australia’s ongoing support to the long-term security of Afghanistan. The Minister also met with Defence Minister Lieutenant General Abdullah Khan Habibi to discuss the ADF’s mentoring and advisory roles.
During a meeting with the Deputy Commander Resolute Support Mission, Lieutenant General Sandy Storrie welcomed the Australian Government’s recent announcement that it will continue to support the security of Afghanistan by pledging ongoing financial assistance of US$100 million annually until 2020.
As part of the visit, Minister Payne spent time with ADF personnel deployed to the Middle East Region as part of Operation OKRA’s Air Task Group and Operation ACCORDION.
“Australians serving in the Middle East play a vital role in the fight against Daesh and every day they and their families make great personal sacrifices to help uphold the safety and security of Australia,’’ Minister Payne said.
“The Air Task Group’s operations have contributed significantly to the recent successes of the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against Daesh.
“These operations would not be possible without the immense professionalism and dedication of ADF support staff deployed as part of Operation ACCORDION.”
During her visit to the Middle East Minister Payne also met with United Arab Emirates Under Secretary of Defence Mattar Salim Al Dhaheri to discuss their approach to countering the messages of Daesh and the spread of violent extremism, including through the use of social media. It follows the Minister’s recent meeting with United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Defence Affairs Mohammed Al Bowardi at the Counter-ISIL Defence Minister’s meeting in Washington in July.
Footage will be fed to all television networks at the press gallery at Parliament House.
Imagery of the Minister’s visit is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20162003
Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
Defence media (02) 6127 1999