The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is temporarily relocating non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australia regularly reviews its operational requirements in concert with its Coalition partners and in consultation with the Iraqi and Afghanistan governments.
“Non-essential personnel will be relocated to Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East and those who are close to concluding their operational duties will be able to return home,” Minister Reynolds said. “This temporary measure is to preserve the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in operational areas. There will be no impact to the force-protection of ADF personnel remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the suspension of training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Australia will continue to review its force posture and resume training in the region when it is safe to do so. Details relating to personnel numbers being relocated cannot be provided for operational security reasons”, said a Department of Defence statement.