In view of the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) has called on Australians to consider the impact on veterans of Middle East operations.
RSL Australia President Greg Melick urged veterans and members to ‘look after their mates’ at this time and link in with RSL Branches and Sub-Branches for support.
“The Open Arms counselling and support service is also ready and able to help as needed,” he said.
It is disappointing to see the hard-earned Coalition achievements in Afghanistan now being taken back by the Taliban, and the RSL stands by the dedicated work of all our serving and ex-serving veterans from Middle East operations.
“Many who served in these theatres will be feeling the frustration and disappointment deeply and we need to understand and appreciate the impact on our veterans of those operations.
“The RSL is here to support our veterans and we are asking all members and indeed the people of Australia, to consider the feelings of those who served in Afghanistan and other areas of the Middle East and provide whatever support they can.”
Mr Melick also repeated the RSL’s call for the fast-tracking of visas for the Afghan support staff who assisted Australian Defence forces and Embassy officials during the deployment in Afghanistan.
“Many of these people and their families have already received visas, but any interpreters and locally employed staff who remain are likely to suffer serious reprisals.
“They provided invaluable service to Australians posted to Afghanistan and we have an obligation to help them,” he said.