With the advent of Australian military leaving Afghanistan this year, a common question is, 'was it worth it?' or 'was it a waste of time?'.
Good questions, considering our military have been involved in Afghanistan in varying degrees since 2001. In my humble opinion, no, by no means was it a waste of time.
Let me explain.
It's all about how you view our involvement in Afghanistan. If you look at it in a purely political light, you're lost at the outset. Politicians like to waltz around in their expensive suits hurling primary school insults at one another at the expense of the Australian tax payer. Remove the political element of Afghanistan, as, I believe, it is a separate issue.
At the end of the day, the Australian Defence Force were sent there to do a job, and the particular job they were tasked to do (whatever it may have been), they carried out with dedication and professionalism to the best of their ability.
Our military have given the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police plenty of training, support and knowledge. Whether the afore mentioned forces decide to continue and hone their craft in order to defend their people and country, well that's their choice, the ball's in their court now, and that, too, is a separate issue.
But as for the ADF? Well they have well and truly done their duty. In fact, in true Australian form, they have gone far and above what they were expected to do.
For those soldiers who died, they died doing something they loved, (including our military dogs).
So, when someone asks whether it was all worth it, with all due respect, it is a slap in the face for not only the ADF, but for the soldiers, sailors and airmen of every allied country who have put blood, sweat and tears into Afghanistan.
Not to mention the families of the 40 dead Australian soldiers, or the 256 soldiers wounded, or the thousands who carry invisible wounds.
Our men and women were sent there to do a job, and they carried their task out in dangerous, arduous conditions with true professionalism.