News National Families in Afghan pilgrimage to pay tribute to fallen diggers

Families in Afghan pilgrimage to pay tribute to fallen diggers

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The families of fallen diggers in Afghanistan have paid homage to their loved ones during a secret visit to the warzone.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) flew dozens of relatives into Australia’s base at Tarin Kot on Saturday.

They attended an emotional service, facing the honour roll that records the names of their sons, husbands and partners.

Kim Duffy, the father of army Captain Bryce Duffy, who was killed by an insider attack, says the visit was helped after two years of grieving.

“For all the families, certainly from the comments I’ve heard, it’s a big closure event for us,” he said.

“Nothing will ever remove the pain and the loss, but just being here is a huge closure chapter, I think, for everybody.”

The chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, said the fallen soldiers were deeply committed to making a positive contribution to Afghanistan’s future.

“You are here today to honour the men you loved,” he said during the service.

“Although each came with a different background, they were united as members of the Australian Defence Force and the desire to make a difference.”

After 12 years, Australia is due to withdraw from its base in Uruzgan province by Christmas.