Australia’s Longest Military Campaign

It’s interesting sometimes to see the perceptions of a war from other directions.  We all tend to be given a different version of events from a political standpoint depending where we happen to live.  However the internet gives us the chance to tip aside that curtain and view the news from another viewpoint.


One of those chances was out this month with a new documentary being aired on Australia’s ABC channel called Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War.  In it we can hear a host of former prime ministers, soldiers, generals and other high profile individuals give their insights into the longest military campaign that Australia has ever been involved in.  It’s unsure whether this documentary will be released outside Australia but you should be able to pick it up on the ABC iView player by using an Australian proxy for the next few weeks at least.

One of the star interviewees was the prime minister who took Australia into this war, a decision he was extremely apprehensive about even then.  Now over 15 years later this documentary is the closest people will find out about what has been happening to the Australian military presence in Afghanistan and how their soldiers have adapted to the difficult situations they have been placed in.

There are also lots of interviews with both Australian generals and perhaps more interestingly with ordinary soldiers who risked their lives.  One moving piece is from a Commando as he explained how he felt after killing a Taliban fighter.

Also interviewed is the former prime minister Julia Gillard who had to attend 24 funerals for Australian personnel who lost their lives in Afghanistan.  She explained she constantly wondered whether this cost was worth the huge cost that the military paid for by risking their lives.

The fact of whether it was successful is still open to debate, Australian forces were withdrawn after 12 years at the end of 2013 – the casualty list stood at 41 killed and 281 servicemen seriously injured.   Now in Afghanistan there are frequent reports that insurgents are now reclaiming the territory that Australia fought for less than 3 years ago.

It’s always good to see these different perspectives you can see how other country’s media report these same news events just by switching your IP address online.   This video shows how to watch BBC iPlayer Australia where you can pick up the news from the BBC.