ADF: past operations in Timor-Leste (East Timor)

ADF: past operations in Timor-Leste (East Timor)


After supporting the UN-sponsored referendum on self-determination in August 1999, units of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were deployed to Indonesian-occupied Timor in September 1999, as the leading force in the International Force East Timor (INTERFET). INTERFET was a United Nations-mandated multinational force formed to address the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation.

INTERFET troops operated in Timor from September 1999 under the commander of ADF Major-General Peter Cosgrove, before the handover to the United Nations Temporary Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in March 2000.

Australian INTERFET troops were gradually withdrawn from Timor after 2000, but new ADF forces were deployed in May 2006, following major rioting in the capital Dili.

In mid-2009, ADF units are still deployed in Timor under Operation Astute and Operation Tower. Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers are also operating in Timor through Operation Serene.

Previous ADF contributions to UN missions in Timor-Leste include:

Operation Faber, 19 June – 15 September 1999

Military Liaison Officers (MLO) deployed under UN Advance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) in support of the UNAMET-monitored popular consultation

Operation Spitfire,  6 September 1999 – 19 September 1999

Special operations in lead up to INTERFET intervention, involving evacuation of 2,475 Australian and other nominated nationals from East Timor

Operation Stabilise, 16 September 1999 – 23 February 2000

ADF operations in Timor as part of multinational International Force East Timor (INTERFET)

Operation Warden, 16 September 1999 – 10 April 2000

Broader ADF involvement in the 1999 East Timor deployment, including logistic support from the Australian support area

Operation Tanager, 20 February 2000 – 19 May 2002

Provision of Australian forces in support of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) with approximately 1,600 ADF personnel, until independence in May 2002

Operation Citadel, May 2002 – May 2004

Post-independence deployment of Australian Combat Batallion Groups (AUSBATT) to support the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) Peacekeeping Force

Operation Spire,  20 May 2004  – 

ADF provided approximately 100 personnel to the United Nations’ (UN) mission in East Timor, undertaking a range of roles to support the UN, mainly performing specialist logistics and engineering and military liaison tasks

Operation Chiron,  20 May 2005 – 11 May 2006

Operation Chiron is Australia’s contribution to the United Nations (UN) Office in Timor-Leste and continues the work of Operation Spire, Australia’s contribution to the UN Mission in support of East Timor (UNMISET) which concluded in May 2005. Australia’s contribution to Operation Chiron consisted of four Military Advisers who provided a liaison and monitoring function in support of the Mission.

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