Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Dr Mike Kelly, and Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, returned last Saturday from a visit to the Middle East Area of Operations, where they met with Australian personnel and thanked them for their work.
Dr Kelly visitedKabul,Kandahar, and Tarin Kot for briefings on the progress of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, and the transition planning for 2014. Dr Kelly met with ISAF personnel, including senior Australian ADF officers embedded within ISAF headquarters.
Dr Kelly also met with members of the Afghan Government, including Defence Minister Wardak, to discuss campaign progress, transition, and governance and development issues, and with Mr Mohammad Musa Mahmodi, Executive Director, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Dr Kelly used these discussions as an opportunity to reaffirmAustralia’s long-term commitment toAfghanistan.
“I am heartened by the progress being made inAfghanistan. The briefings I have received about theAfghanistantransition have reflected positively on the work being done by Australian personnel attached to ISAF, as well as the work being done by the ADF in Tarin Kot andKandahar. ADF personnel make an important contribution to the NATO-led ISAF, helping to create a stableAfghanistanin the lead up to transition by 2014” Dr Kelly said.
“Good security progress is being made inAfghanistan– we are on track for Afghan National Security Forces to assume full security responsibility by 2014” Dr Kelly said.
“This visit was also a valuable opportunity to meet Australian troops on the ground. Their job is difficult and dangerous, and they deserve our thanks. I was deeply impressed with the hard work being done under arduous circumstances by ADF personnel,” said Dr Kelly.
Air Marshal Geoff Brown visited Air Force personnel and saw first hand the work that is being done by the crews of the C-17 Globemaster, Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft, AP-3C Orion and C-130 Hercules, and the associated engineering and logistics support.
“Air Force personnel are doing an outstanding job supporting maritime operations in the Middle East and coalition land operations inAfghanistan.
“Providing air support and airbase support for our Army colleagues in the Australian Mentoring Task Force and the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade is important as the Afghans progress towards acting independently. I’m pleased by the progress that is being made, as Afghan Forces increasingly lead their own tactical operations inAfghanistan,” Air Marshal Brown said.
“The Royal Australian Air Force’s commitment extends beyondAfghanistan, where we support ISAF, to the Indian Ocean offEast Africain support of maritime security and counter-piracy operations.”
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Media contacts: Elyse Gatt (Dr Kelly) 02 6277 4840 or 0459 810 654
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999