The Australian Defence Force is temporarily relocating non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of COVID-19.
CAPTION: James Stevens MP, Member for Sturt, participates in combat first aid training during an ADF Parliamentary Program visit to Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East. Photo by Leading Seaman Craig Walton.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australia regularly reviewed its operational requirements in concert with Coalition partners and in consultation with the Iraqi and Afghanistan governments.
“Non-essential personnel will be relocated to Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East and those who are close to concluding their operational duties will be able to return home,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This temporary measure is to preserve the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in operational areas.
“There will be no impact to the force-protection of ADF personnel remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the suspension of training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Australia will continue to review its force posture and resume training in the region when it is safe to do so.
Details relating to personnel numbers being relocated cannot be provided for operational security reasons.
ADF has around 1350 personnel deployed in the ‘Middle East Region’ with another 60 or so in the wider region and Africa.
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