Australia Commits to GWOT

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Australia Commits to GWOT

17 OCT 2001: The Global War on Terror, and Prime Minister John Howard makes the announcement on Australia’s commitment to the War of Terrorism, as Operation Slipper. After the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, Australia joined the US-led International Coalition against Terrorism (the Coalition) by committing military assets and personnel to Coalition operations in Afghanistan—the US-led action is known as Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF–A).

OEF-A commenced on 7 October 2001 when the US and allied nations conducted military operations against al-Qa’ida and Taliban targets in Afghanistan. On 14 September 2001, the Australian Government cited the terrorist attacks against the US as sufficient basis for invoking the mutual-defence clauses of the ANZUS Treaty. This was the first time the Treaty’s clauses on acting to meet a common danger had been invoked since it was enacted in 1952. Parliament supported this decision on 17 September 2001.

In addition to Australia’s commitment to OEF-A, the Australian Defence Force also provided, and continues to provide, support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations and activities in Afghanistan. ISAF was established on 20 December 2001 via United Nations Security Council Resolution 1386.

Australia’s military contribution to the conflict in Afghanistan commenced in October 2001 when the first contingent of Special Forces troops departed Australia as part of Operation Slipper.

This level of commitment to military operations in Afghanistan remained consistent until the end of 2002 when allied operations shifted from combat missions to reconstruction activities. At that time, the Australian Government announced there were insufficient tasks to warrant keeping Special Forces elements in Afghanistan.  As a result, the 200-strong Special Forces Task Force was withdrawn in November 2002.

Australia continued to have a very small presence in Afghanistan in the form of two uniformed officer positions rotating through United Nations and land mine clearing missions. It was not until August 2005 that Australia re-entered the Afghanistan conflict.

In July 2005, the Government announced that, at the request of the Afghanistan Government, the US and allies, Australia would deploy a force of approximately 150 personnel for a period of 12 months to undertake security tasks similar to those of 2001‑02.

Initially a Special Forces task group was deployed in August 2005 and, a year later, Australia’s first reconstruction task force deployed approximately 200 personnel. Since then, the level of Australia’s military commitment continued to rise with Australia’s authorised strength now reaching 1550 personnel.

Operation Slipper involved not only military elements deployed to Afghanistan, but also forces dual assigned to provide command, communications and logistics support to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), including Afghanistan, Iraq (security and support for Australian embassy staff) and the Gulf of Aden (counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations). Photo: 2001 and HMAS Kanimbla’s Sea King and HMAS Adelaide’s Seahawk providing top cover for a boarding party whilst Adelaide shadows the merchant vessel. More; http://ow.ly/o7Li305evmP

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