The mission goes on in Afghanistan

Lieutenant Commander Alwyn Johnson, of Exeter
Lieutenant Commander Alwyn Johnson, of Exeter

WHEN Exeter's Alwyn Johnson joined the Navy, a deployment to landlocked Afghanistan must have seemed unlikely.

But the 29-year-old Lieutenant Commander, a maritime logistics officer, has been posted to the Australian headquarters in Kabul as human resources manager.

He is tasked with overseeing about 400 Australian Defence Force personnel currently deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation SLIPPER.

Lieutenant Commander Johnson said his primary responsibility was to ensure that the right people were assigned to support the ongoing Afghanistan mission.

"I've been a maritime logistics officer for 10 years, and while we specialise in logistics, part of our role is also human resource management, which I've had a lot of exposure to," he said.

While he was looking forward to seeing family and friends, rock- climbing trips to the Cataract Gorge and road trips to the East Coast back home, Afghanistan had its benefits.

"On a personal note, as someone who loves the outdoors, I was fortunate to climb one of the hills overlooking Kabul on Christmas Eve. We walked up before dawn and were able to see the sun rising over Kabul," he said.

"Kabul is an interesting and diverse city. But sometimes it's the small things that you miss from home, like how unique the bush is, or being able to go to the ocean"

Following the completion of Australia's mission in Uruzgan province last year, efforts have shifted to a national mission to provide training and support for the Afghan National Security Forces.

About 400 ADF personnel will work with the ANSF throughout 2014 in both Kabul and Kandahar.


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