A statement from the Chief of the Defence Force regarding the international memorial at Multi-National Base – Tarin Kot
3 November 2013
I accompanied the families of our fallen soldiers into Tarin Kot on Saturday 2 November to conduct a commemorative service and to enable them to experience part of what their loved ones experienced during their deployments to Afghanistan.
The occasion was emotional for all involved, and undoubtedly appreciated by the families.
The fate of the memorial wall at the Multi-National Base was discussed during our visit.
The wall is an international memorial. It bears the names of more than 110 soldiers who were killed in action. These soldiers were from four countries, and the largest number were from the United States.
Taking into account all the issues that surround the wall - in particular that it is not uniquely Australian - the families brought a special insight into this matter and agreed to the plan to destroy the wall.
This will be done respectfully and because of the careful planning which has occurred an appropriate historical record of the wall will be maintained.
The families of our fallen are comforted by the knowledge that a range of memorial items are being returned to Australia and will be added to significant memorial sites such as the National Afghanistan Memorial in Yungaburra, Queensland and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
I am disappointed with the media and online coverage of this matter. At least two families were approached for comment and both were conveyed incomplete, perhaps misleading, information which evoked the desired emotional response.
Upon visiting the memorial site and learning of the wider issues involved, the families agree with my proposed approach.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999