Mission complete for ANZAC Diggers
2 January 2013
Almost 100 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel from ANZAC Company have returned home to Australia now their mission in Timor-Leste as part of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) is complete.
Two of ANZAC Company’s three platoons travelled home on RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft on 17 and 18 December.
ANZAC Company, comprised of two-thirds Reservists and one-third Australian Regular Army personnel, has been providing security to Forward Operating Bases in the Dili area, and contributing to the remediation of equipment and bases in Timor-Leste.
The ADF is approaching the end of an era. From the days of INTERFET (International Force for East Timor), Australia has contributed troops in Timor-Leste for the past 13 years.
Officer Commanding ANZAC Company, Major Jarrah Hands, said his soldiers were proud to have played their part in helping the people of Timor-Leste gain their feet as a young nation.
“The Timorese security forces, both the Police and Defence Force, are now more than capable of maintaining security in Timor-Leste and we have complete faith in them,” Major Hands said.
Since ISF security operations ceased on 21 November, Australian and New Zealand forces have initiated plans to drawdown personnel numbers, repatriate equipment, close bases, and return property and buildings to the Government of Timor-Leste. .
There are just two remaining New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to the operation.
Major Hands said his troops were excited to go home and spend Christmas with their families and friends.
“Of course there are some members who are sad as will always occur when any big event comes to an end, but we are all happy to have contributed.”
A small core of personnel will remain in Timor-Leste to finalise base remediation and handovers. After more than six years of commitment to Operation ASTUTE, troops started to depart Timor-Leste in late November and the ISF withdrawal will continue through to April 2013.
Australia’s Defence and Police engagement with Timor-Leste will continue through our Defence Cooperation Program and Australian Federal Police support to Timor-Leste’s police forces.
Through our aid program, Australia is strongly committed to its partnership with Timor-Leste to provide ongoing assistance to support the Government of Timor-Leste to achieve greater prosperity.