Ian Langford - Middle Eastern deployments

Running time
1 min 52 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The Middle Eastern period of sort of my career, it really kicked off with a UN deployment to Lebanon, Syria, and Northern Israel as part of the United Nations Truce supervisory organisation in which, again, there's an expectation around the operating environment which proved to be different almost immediately I had arrived.

And there was an exchange between local Hezbollah and the Israeli Defence Forces which resulted in the death of UN observers. Now, again, that was not the expectation going into that experience but that threat and hazard profile, even though that you are a UN observer and not a participant to hostilities quickly meant you had to adjust your understanding the environment and apply yourself accordingly.

So that kind of mental agility and ability to discern changing circumstances became really important. And then, you know, moving from that into the Afghanistan experience where, again, it's a different operating environment altogether. You've got a different threat profile, you've got a different means of coping with that mechanism. you're operating in a coalition some of which is strengthened by alliances and by intelligence sharing, others are not.

And then you've got an Afghan population which really has been the victim throughout that entire experience, who are desperate in terms of the need for the provision of basic security effects which we assisted Afghan partners in doing, but also need facilitated to them the delivery of essential aid to enable things like their kids to survive. And it literally was life or death in terms of how that provision of support was engendered.

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