The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan

Today marked the launch of the Australian Army’s online multimedia documentary of its contribution to the Operation Slipper campaign in Afghanistan.

The documentary, The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan, is a multimedia collection of short videos and interviews with current and former members and their families, as well as documents and photographs, all of which chronicle Army’s time in Afghanistan.

“As part of the broader ADF and government commitment, more than 26,000 Australian soldiers served in over a decade of combat operations in Afghanistan. For these soldiers and their families, this was a time of joy and grief, pride and loss,” Minister Andrews said.

“It is vitally important in the centenary year of Anzac; when many will pause to reflect on the humanity, courage and legacy of the Australian soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915; that we also consider the contemporary servicemen and women who have served our nation with pride and distinction in Afghanistan”.

Lieutenant General Morrison said The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan was an important piece of work for the Army to commission.

The Longest War is the Australian Army in our own words. We wanted to have a frank and open account to the Australian public on the highs and lows, as well as the challenges, set backs and the achievements of our time in Afghanistan,” Lieutenant General Morrison said

“We wanted Army’s story to offer viewers an insight into our work on combat operations in Afghanistan and most importantly, a unique and intimate view of what it means to be an Australian soldier.

“In over a decade of operations, our Army had 41 Australian soldiers killed. Many more sustained physical and psychological wounds. This underscores our Army’s involvement, commitment and professionalism.  This initiative gave our soldiers the chance to tell their story in their own words.

“I am tremendously grateful to the current and former serving members and their families, who gave not only their time, but their stories to this important project.”

Project Director for The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan, Brigadier Don Roach, said the multimedia documentary was an easily accessible and thought provoking record of the Army’s involvement in Afghanistan since 2001.

The Longest War takes viewers through each stage of the Afghanistan campaign. We used video, interviews and imagery to capture the story of the Australian Army in Afghanistan,” Brigadier Roach said.

“We began research for this project in September 2013. Since then, the project team has interviewed sixty four soldiers and six Army families, and captured over 100 hours of footage.

“The central focus of the project was to tell the story of the Australian Army in Afghanistan through the eyes of the soldiers who served, and the families at home who supported them.”

The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan is now available on the Army’s website at the following link: http://army.gov.au/the-longest-war/

Media note:

Imagery from the launch will be available later today at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20151263

Vision from the launch will be released later today via the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery.

A short reel from The Longest War: The Australian Army in Afghanistan will also be available under general release arrangements.