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Media Releases 15 Aug 2021

RSL Australia President urges consideration and care for Afghan veterans

In view of the quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan the President of the Returned & Services League of Australia 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 sub-Branches for support.

“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 League’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.

If you, or someone you know, is affected by this news please contact:

  • Contact details for your local sub-Branch can be found by clicking on this link (please note that sub-Branches do not offer mental health crisis support but can assist with connecting you to these services)
  • Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Open Arms (current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families are able to seek this free and confidential support) – 1800 011 046
  • ADF Mental Health All-hours Support Line (for current serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 628 036
  • Safe Zone Support (for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families) – 1800 142 072. When you call Safe Zone Support, you do not need to identify yourself if you do not want to

 

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