Prime Minister’s sobering message to veterans amid Afghanistan evacuation
More Afghans fleeing their Taliban-controlled homeland will soon call Australia home, with 250 ADF soldiers to be deployed to extract them.
Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 430 Afghan interpreters who aided Australia’s efforts in Afghanistan have arrived since April, with 1800 being brought to Australia in total.
“There will be more that will be added to this number,” he said.
The federal government has engaged with states and territories to ensure quarantine facilities will be available to accept the new arrivals.
“The arrangements are already there; this is a national effort.”
The Prime Minister also offered up “specific words” to the veteran community in light of the devastating developments, encouraging them to take up the mental health services available to them.
“To the men and woman of our ADF and Australia’s veterans, I know today is a day of sadness and reflection for our Afghanistan veterans.
“It’s a sobering day for everyone and particularly those who have given so much over the past 20 years and most notably those 41 who were lost.”
Mr Morrison said the “overriding concern of the veterans I have spoken to has been for us to protect those who worked alongside us in Afghanistan”.
He said Australia will “continue to do everything we can” to help Afghan interpreters and other staff who worked closely with Australian forces, but said they won’t all be evacuated.
“I want to talk openly to veterans … I know that support won’t reach all that it should,” he said.
“On the ground events have overtaken many efforts. We wish it were different.”
If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms (veterans’ counselling) on 1800 011 046.