Operation Slipper patch
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Operation SLIPPER and Operation BASTILLE

Australia: 11 October 2001 - 31 December 2014

Area of Operations: Afghanistan, Pakistan, The Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq and Diego Garcia.

Background: After the Terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, New York, which took almost 5000 civilian and military lives on the 11th of September, 2001, the U.S. President declared war on Terrorists and countries that house and train terrorists. The 11th of September attack was suspected to be the long-term plan of attack by Osama Bin Laden, who was a Saudi Arabian Engineer living in exile in Afghanistan and worked closely with the Al-Queda extremist Islamic Group. The Taliban (Afghan extremist Islamic group) considered Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda group as “Guests” in their country. After US pressure on the President of Pakistan, the Taliban were given a deadline to surrender Bin Laden or face the consequences. The Taliban subsequently refused. US, British, German and Australian (SASR) Special Forces Teams were then inserted into Afghanistan and were supported by the biggest air bombing campaign the world had seen. Bin Laden escaped. However, he was eventually tracked down and killed on May 2, 2011 by U.S. forces in a custom-built compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

ISAF: The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was created in accordance with the Bonn Conference in December 2001. Afghan opposition leaders attending the conference began the process of reconstructing their country by setting up a new government structure, namely the Afghan Transitional Authority. The concept of a UN-mandated international force to assist the newly established Afghan Transitional Authority was also launched at this occasion to create a secure environment in and around Kabul and support the reconstruction of Afghanistan. These agreements paved the way for the creation of a three-way partnership between the Afghan Transitional Authority, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) - see Op PALATE and Op PALATE II - and ISAF.

On 11 August 2003 NATO assumed leadership of the ISAF operation. The Alliance became responsible for the command, coordination and planning of the force, including the provision of a force commander and headquarters on the ground in Afghanistan. This new leadership overcame the problem of a continual search to find new nations to lead the mission and the difficulties of setting up a new headquarters every six months in a complex environment. A continuing NATO headquarters also enabled small countries, less likely to take over leadership responsibility, to play a strong role within a multinational headquarters.

ISAF’s mandate was initially limited to providing security in and around Kabul. In October 2003, the United Nations extended ISAF’s mandate to cover the whole of Afghanistan (UNSCR 1510), paving the way for an expansion of the mission across the country. In support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ISAF then conducted operations in Afghanistan to reduce the capability and will of the insurgency, support the growth in capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and facilitate improvements in governance and socio-economic development in order to provide a secure environment for sustainable stability that is observable to the population. On 01 January 2015 the ISAF mission ended and transitioned to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission. More information can be found here:

Operation Bastille: (January 2003 – March 2003) was an operation conducted within Operation Slipper. Bastille was the codename for the operation to deploy force elements and prepare for possible combat operations in Iraq. The preparation supported the United Nations disarmament efforts by contributing to the pressure on Iraq to comply with its international obligations to end its program of weapons of mass destruction. When the Australian Defence Force commenced the offensive operations against Iraq as part of the coalition led by the United States, Operation Bastille ceased to be a part of Operation Slipper and became Operation Falconer.

Deployed: ADF: Over 30,000 ADF personnel were deployed at least once since 2001. At its peak over 1560 in Afghanistan + approx 830 ADF personnel were deployed in the Middle East: Oruzgan and Kabul HQ; Mentoring Taskforce; Provincial Reconstruction Team; Special Ops Task Group; Chinook Helo Group; HMA Ships; 4 F/A18 Hornets; 2 B707-338C Tankers (Refuellers); 2 RAAF P3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft; Heron Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Detachment (passive); Communications and Information Systems detachments; HQ & Force Liaison staff and Logistics personnel.

Our contribution has included an annual average of 1,550 ADF personnel deployed within Afghanistan. These numbers varied depending on operational requirements and shifting seasonal conditions. Within Afghanistan Australia's roles included disrupting insurgent operations and supply routes; provincial reconstruction; training, mentoring and advising the Afghan National Security Forces; and building capacity in the Afghan Government.

Australia maintained a permanent presence in Uruzgan province Afghanistan since 2005 and assumed leadership of CT-U from the US in October 2012 to play a greater role in managing the transition to Afghan security control in Uruzgan. In this time the Afghans contained the insurgency and built on the gains of preceding years. Multi-National Base - Tarin Kot developed extensive infrastructure since 2005 including a sealed airfield and new civilian terminal and was home to nearly 10,000 people at the height of the campaign. The base was transferred to various Afghan Government ministries in 2013. Following the completion of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan, Australia shifted to a nationally-oriented mission to provide ongoing training and advisory support for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Approximately 800 personnel provided support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), including our maritime commitment. Of that, approximately 400 ADF personnel were deployed within Afghanistan. In 2014, ADF personnel were engaged in Afghanistan through training and advising the Afghan National Security Forces in Kabul and Kandahar. Through to the end of 2014, Australia was providing instructors, advisors and support staff to the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul, which included a force protection platoon. We had advisor and support staff working with the Australian-led Afghan National Army 205 Corps Coalition Advisory Team in Kandahar. This commitment provided valuable advice within the Afghan National Army 205 Corps senior leadership. We also supported logistics training with the Logistics Training and Advisory Team in Kabul and we committed a small number of Special Forces and other Army personnel to training and advising the General Directorate of Police Special Units. In addition, the Royal Australian Air Force Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft deployment provided Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance support to enhance security in Regional Command - South during the lead up to, and conduct of, the elections.

Throughout 2014 Australia maintained its cadre of embedded personnel at ISAF Joint Command and Regional Command - South. On 1 July 2014, following the end of Australia’s mission in Uruzgan province and the significant draw down in troop numbers, Op SLIPPER split into three separate operations to more accurately reflect the nature of Australia’s military contribution. Under the operational changes, the ADF’s commitment in Afghanistan continued under Op HIGHROAD. The contribution to maritime security operations in the MEAO and counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden will be conducted under Op MANITOU. Supporting operations in neighbouring Gulf States will be conducted under Op ACCORDION.

AFP: Initially 16 AFP members deployed to Afghanistan to help to develop the core policing abilities among local police officers in Afghanistan. The AFP also provided support to the Afghan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC) to assist the Afghan National Police (ANP) in identifying persons involved in illicit narcotics and to support ANP investigations and prosecutions through the Afghan Criminal Justice system. The AFP’s involvement to the ATFC was discontinued in April 2010 in line with the AFP’s increased focus on training and developing the ANP in Uruzgan Province. It then refocused its efforts around the provincial training centre in Tarin Kowt to provide training and mentoring to the ANP. The AFP’s role in Afghanistan expanded to 28 AFP members to coordinate training operations for the ANP, influencing and shaping that policing environment, and also profiling serious criminality within the Oruzgan province. AFP members also deployed to Kabul and Kandahar in counter narcotics, specialist intelligence and advisory roles countering serious criminality through engagement in the International Operations Coordination Centre (IOCC) and training the Afghan Major Crime Task Force. The primary objective of the AFP mission to Afghanistan, Operation Illuminate, was to train, develop and mentor ANP in Uruzgan Province so that they, as members of the ANSF, could assume responsibility for national security.

Killed: 41 - Details can be found here:

Wounded: > 260 ADF personnel.

Veterans’ Entitlements Determination dated 4 May 2014: Warlike Service.

Awards: Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with Clasp 'ICAT' - 1 day/1 sortie Visitors 30 days/30 sorties only for the period 11 Oct 2001 – 17 Mar 2003, Note: service within parts of Iraq may provide qualification for both clasp ICAT and IRAQ 2003 ; Afghanistan Medal (Afghanistan-Medal-Instrument-2015.pdf).

AASM 1988 Afghanistan Medal
AASM with Clasp
Afghanistan Medal