ADF in Afghanistan – history

ADF in Afghanistan – history


Australian forces have been deployed to the Afghanistan theatre in five phases since October 2001.

  1. Invasion phase:participation in the US-led multinational invasion of Afghanistan from October 2001, involved Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighters, transport and refuelling aircraft, AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft, and an Army Special Air Service Task Group until their withdrawal by December 2002.

  2. Draw down phase: followed the conclusion of the invasion phase, and in 2003-4 involved only:

    “an Australian National Headquarters element; a maritime element of 1 frigate; an aviation element of 2 P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft; and 1 Army officer working in a coalition headquarters in Afghanistan.”

  3. Special Forces redeployment phase: from September 2005 to September 2006 concentrated on the deployment of the Army Special Forces Task Group, and from March 2006, two Chinook helicopters.

  4. Reconstruction Task Force deployment phase: began in September 2006 when the Special Forces Task Group was withdrawn and a Reconstruction Taskforce dispatched.

  5. Expansion phase: with re-deployment of a Special Operations Task Group of about 300 personnel to Oruzgan under International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command, and an RAAF air surveillance radar capability (about 75 personnel) to Kandahar Airfield, together with additional intelligence and logistics personnel, to bring total ADF personnel to a total of 950 by mid-2007.

Continuous Royal Australian Navy deployments in the Persian Gulf since July 2001 have been engaged in operations in relation to both Iraq and Afghanistan at different times.

“Operation Slipper” is the codename applied by the Department of Defence to Afghanistan operations since 2001. However the term has had a wider domain at different times since then.

“Operation Palate” is the codename for ADF operations in Afghanistan from April 2003 to June 2004 in support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Operation Palate II commenced in June 2005, and in mid-2007 consisted of one ADF officer supporting the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Government sources

History of Australia’s military commitment  in Afghanistan, Fact Sheet 4, Department of Defence, n.d., (retrieved 28 December 2010)

Key Deployment Dates

  • October 2001 to December 2002 (Special Forces Task Force)
  • September 2005 to September 2006 (Special Forces Task Force)
  • March 2006 to April 2007 (Aviation Support Element)
  • August 2006 to October 2008 (Reconstruction Task Force)
  • April 2007 to present (Special Operations Task Group)
  • August 2007 to July 2009 (Control and Reporting Centre)
  • February 2008 to present (Rotary Wing Group)
  • October 2008 to February 2010 (Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force)
  • July 2009 to February 2010 (Election Support Force)
  • February 2010 to present (Mentoring Task Force)




See also

Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Updated: 28 December 2010