39,000 who served
These are the statistics relating to the Australian Defence Force from the war in
Afghanistan that we can and should never forget.
It’s easy to forgive ourselves for being swept up in everything COVID-19 related right
There is no doubt that our lives have changed forever since the virus landed on our
It’s difficult being house-bound, not being able to have a sit down meal at a restaurant
or catch up face-to-face with friends and family.
But spare a thought for those Australians who served in Afghanistan.
They signed up for a mission on the other side of the world to help free a nation full of
people they had never met.
This wasn’t a nation that were housebound due to a pandemic, this was a nation that
were held captive by group whose sole mission was to control its people with medieval
and often brutal tactics, and act as a breeding ground for extremists willing to terrorise
the West, to which we were not immune.
For many Afghans, they weren’t concerned about not being able order a meal at a
restaurant – they were just concerned about how to put food on the table for their family.
They weren’t concerned about when they would catch up with their group of friends next
– they just wanted to know that their friends and family were alive and safe.
For nearly twenty years, women and girls have been able to go to school, get a job and
play sport - these basic things that so many of us take for granted will probably no
longer be possible.
For the 39,000 ADF members who served in Afghanistan, the mission was simple.
They just wanted to help the people of Afghanistan, to establish democracy, to help
build their nation. They wanted to help secure safety for not only Afghanistan but also
In order to do that they left their family and loved ones on the other side of the world for
months – sometimes years – at a time.
They sacrificed their own wellbeing and safety for their mission and for the people of
It is this selflessness and bravery that typifies our ADF personnel.
As we watch with great sadness at the images currently on our TV screens, we should
never forget the contributions of the 39,000 who served, 249 who were wounded and 41
who were killed.
Lest we forget.
*Greg is former member of the Australian Regular Army and a veteran*