Defence ambiguity on Female Engagement Teams

There appears to be some confusion as to whether Australia has deployed Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in Afghanistan. Last month, around the time of the ADFA sex scandal and the ensuing (but somewhat unrelated) debate on the role of women in combat, the ABC’s Sally Sara reported that the ADF does indeed employ FET to engage with Afghan women.

Other than one March 2011 media release alluding to female ADF participating in a FET, the lead nation of which is unclear, there have been no explicit statements supporting Sara’s claim. This does not necessarily mean her claims are false; rather Defence has remained coy on the matter (I deconstructed the ambiguity of the media release in this March post).

One would think that, at the height of the women in combat debate, it would have been an ideal time either to back up Sara’s statement on ADF FET by way of clarification, or even take the opportunity to talk up the work of female ADF members in Uruzgan and beyond. Sadly, no such statements have been forthcoming.

Image courtesy of Department of Defence.

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