Joint release:

  • The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Leader of the Opposition
  • The Hon Andrew Hastie, Shadow Minister for Defence

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the commencement of the evacuation of Afghanistan.

It will be a tough day, a sombre week, and difficult month for many.

For the 39,000 men and women of the Australian Defence Force who served so bravely in Afghanistan over a 20-year period, including all those who still bear wounds seen and unseen.

For the families, friends and loved ones of the 41 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For the 4,100 people the ADF helped evacuate in August last year among the more than 80,000 who were evacuated thanks to the combined efforts of nations around the world.

For all those still in Afghanistan.

And for those Afghans safely in Australia whose thoughts will be with their family and friends.

On behalf of the Coalition, our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time.

The tragedy of August 2021 does not detract from 20 years of service and sacrifice which denied al-Qaeda a safe haven, inhibited the terrorist organisation’s ability to plan operations, and prevented attacks being conducted on Australian soil or elsewhere around the world.

The recent death of Ayman al-Zawahiri reminds us that terrorism, whatever its form, will find no sanctuary from the forces of justice.

Australia will continue to advocate for the gains made and rights advanced in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, especially for women and girls.