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From the ADF Info-machine:
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley has congratulated the more than 26,500 Defence personnel who have contributed to Australia’s mission in Afghanistan since 2002.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Defence Minister Senator David Johnston and General Hurley joined representatives from Afghanistan, the United States, Netherlands, New Zealand, France, Singapore and Slovakia for a Recognition Ceremony at Multi-National Base – Tarin Kot on 28 October 2013.
The ceremony formally acknowledged the contribution of Australia and its Coalition partners to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Uruzgan province.
“Today is about recognising the efforts and achievements of every Australian who has conducted or supported operations in Afghanistan or the Middle East over the past decade.
“I am immensely proud of the work our Defence personnel have done to counter the insurgency and what we have achieved for the people of Afghanistan.
“Since 2005 we have worked in partnership with the Afghans to degrade the insurgency while our training and mentoring has allowed the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade and the Afghan National Security Forces to develop the capability they need to accept responsibility for Uruzgan’s security.
“The Afghan people have shown strong support for their own security forces and growing confidence that the Afghan National Security Forces can confront and defeat the insurgents in their own right.
“The ADF and our civilian partners have made a lasting contribution to Uruzgan with tangible improvements that have significantly enhanced the quality of life for the people who live in the province.
“A succession of Australian reconstruction teams have built or redeveloped hospitals and medical centres; schools; and more than 200km of roads and bridges to enhance health and education and to improve vital infrastructure.
“The Trade Training school has been a major success and has taught a large number of Afghans plumbing, carpentry, concreting and bricklaying skills.
“Over the next 10 weeks the ADF will complete its mission in Uruzgan and the majority of our people will begin to return to Australia.
“As this process begins, we reflect on the lasting friendship that has been forged with the people of Afghanistan and ties that we have established with our Afghan and Coalition partners.
“The efforts of the international community in Afghanistan have provided the time, space and opportunity to build and field an Afghan National Security Force and to establish the institutional building blocks for the Afghan people to determine their own future.
“This is the legacy of those military personnel and civilians killed or wounded in the conflict, including more than 260 Australians who were wounded, and the 40 Australian soldiers who were killed in action.
“We will remember them.” ....