As he made his inaugural address in January this year, US President Barack Obama made a reference to the withdrawal of troops from a war that had captured the world’s attention for the last 10 years, and had defined much of his first term at the White House.
With 3169 coalition deaths and counting, many believe this war has been far from victorious. “Afghanistan is not lost, but for several years it has moved backwards,” said Obama.
The effects of this war have reached every corner of the globe, including our own territory.
AUSTRALIA:With 39 fatalities, more than a third of which were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 249 wounded and 191 allegations of mistreatment against Australian troops, the recent tally presented by Defence Minister Stephen Smith provides a grim synopsis of our time at war in Afghanistan.
NEW ZEALAND: The recent loss of three soldiers in an attack on a convoy, brings the total number of Kiwi casualties to 10. These deaths have coincided with an earlier than expected withdrawal of New Zealand’s troops from the area by April 2013.
As operations begin to wind down and combat ends, the focus will shift to the care of wounded, injured and ill service men and women and their families. With more veterans living in the community now than there has been in the past 40 years, it is important that the necessary support systems are put in place to help them rejoin the community.