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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This entry was posted in ADF, Afghanistan, Australia by Natalie Sambhi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Natalie Sambhi

Natalie Sambhi is co-editor of Security Scholar. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, a think tank based at the University of Western Australia. She was formerly an Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Managing Editor of The Strategist. She is a Hedley Bull Scholar and graduate of the Australian National University.

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