Timeline: Australian troops in Afghanistan


Australian forces have been active in Afghanistan in various roles since the war's inception in 2001, with 1,550 personnel currently deployed.

October 2001: One month after the September 11 attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan begins with Australian support after the Government invokes the ANZUS Treaty.The first contingent of Australian Special Forces Task Group is farewelled from Perth.

November 2001: First contingent of four F/A-18 Hornets leaves the Williamtown RAAF base.

January 2002: Approximately 80 personnel, forming second contingent, leaves Australia.

February 2002: Second F/A-18 Hornet detachment of 80 personnel replaces first.

March 2002: Australian forces take part in the first major ground assault, Operation Anaconda, in eastern Afghanistan.

April 2002: Second Special Forces Task Group contingent replaces first.
First contingent of B-707 aircraft and support personnel arrive at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan.

May 2002: Second contingent of RAAF F/A-18 Hornet detachment return to Australia. They are not replaced.

June 2002: Second contingent of B-707 aircrew and support personnel replace first.

July 2002: ADF personnel in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Gulf now between 850 and 1300.

November 2002: Government announces end to Australia's Special Forces deployment, reducing.

February 2003: Number of ADF personnel in the Middle East estimated at 2000 across two operations.

April 2003: Number of Australian military personnel in Afghanistan believed to be one Army officer at UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

November 2003: Deployment of Army engineering officer to Mine Action Co-ordination Centre.

August 2005: First Special Forces Task Group deployment since September 2002.

March 2006-April 2007: Chinook helicopter detachment (two helicopters, 110 personnel) deployed to assist the Special Forces Task Force.
75 RAAF personnel deployed to Kandahar airfield to provide air surveillance radar capability.

May-June 2006: Government announces a two-year, 240-strong reconstruction task force (RTF) to Uruzgan province.

August 2006: Additional 150 personnel announced for RTF-1.

September 2006: RTF-1 arrives in Afghanistan.

November-December 2006: Special Task Forces Group return home.

February 2007: Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson says Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan is approximately 400 personnel.

April 2007: Chinook helicopters and 110 personnel return to Australia.

May 2007: Special Operations Task Force deployed to assist International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Uruzgan province.
Main RAAF contingent arrives in Afghanistan.

October 2007: Approximately 900 ADF personnel in Afghanistan.

February 2008: Two Chinook helicopters deployed.

April-May 2008: RTF-4 replaces RTF-3 with 400 combat engineers, infantry, cavalry and support staff.

June-July 2008: Army's CH-47 Chinook helicopter detachment and RAAF personnel
(deployed to Kandahar) return home.

October 2008: The first Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF-1) takes over from RTF-4. In addition to reconstruction efforts in Uruzgan, they will be involved in capacity building and mentoring of the Afghan National Army.
RTF-4 returns home.

November 2008: Two Chinook helicopters and 65 personnel return home.

April 2009: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announces increase in troop commitment to 1550 personnel.

May 2009: Australian Army officer Brigadier Damien Cantwell announced as commander of the ISAF Election Task Force.
600 personnel in MRTF-2 deployed to replace MRTF-1.

July 2009: RAAF transfers command of two-year operation commanding the Control and Reporting Centre at Kandahar Airfield to US Air Force.

August 2009: MRTF-1 return home. Operations in support of Afghan national elections begin with 120 personnel.

January 2010: First Mentoring Task Force (MTF-1) deployed to replace MRTF-2. MTF-1 to train Afghan National Army's 2nd and 4th Kandaks.

February 2010: Major General Ash Power appointed as Senior Military Advisor to Afgfhanistan's Defence Minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak.

April 2010: Second contingent of Second Force Support Unit returns to Australia.
Fifth helicopter detachment (two Chinooks) commence operations.

August 2010: Dutch forces to withdraw. New US-led command for Uruzgan province, with Australian civilian leader for Provincial Reconstruction Team.

September 2010: Three Australian Special Forces soldiers to face court martial over deaths of six Afghan civilians.

Combat Support Unit 5, comprising 118 personnel, returns to Australia.

August 2011: Charge sheet against three ADF members withdrawn. The soldiers were facing court martial relating to the deaths of six Afghan civilians.

November 2011: Afghan President Hamid Karzai announces second tranche of districts handed over to Afghan security responsibility.

December 2011: Royal Australian Navy Commodore Jonathan Mead assumes command of Combined Maritime Operations in the Gulf region.

900 soldiers farewelled as they leave for major roation into the Middle East Area of Operations.

Force Communication Unit 5 (120 personnel) returns to Australia.

January 2012: Mentoring Task Force 3 returns to Australia.

March 2012: Artillery Training Advisory Team (ATAT-4) takes over from ATAT-3.

May 2012: Third tranche - including Uruzgan province to be handed over to Afghan security. Transition expected to take 12-18 months.

August 2012: Special Operations Task Group returns to Australia.

October 2012: Australia assumes leadership of Combined Team - Uruzgan, taking over from the US.

December 2012: Eight health specialists deployed to NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield.

March 2013: Nine mortar personnel deployed to Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, the first such deployment since the Vietnam War.

Source: SBS

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