Following Australia’s military history through the years, the Australia at War series is now complete with the final coin of the truly epic series. The longest and most modern of conflicts in Australian military history, Afghanistan represents the transformation of war in the past century. Our forces sent to this war were involved not only in the ‘war on terror’, but also the important task of rebuilding for the future that comes after war.
Terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001 prompted the United States of America to declare a ‘war on terror’. Citing the ANZUS treaty Australia moved quickly to support the multi-national effort and joined ‘the coalition of the willing’. Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the acts of terrorism in 2001, was protected by the Taliban and was using Afghanistan as a training base. Over the following 13 years Australian troops helped overthrow the Taliban, fought an insurgency, and assisted in the rebuilding of a new democratic government. Combat was but one task of modern Australian servicemen and women in Afghanistan, with an emphasis on the rebuilding of a society free from terror.
By the time Australian forces withdrew in 2013, the war in Afghanistan had been the longest conflict in Australian military history.