November 01, 2014

Australia’s military role in Afghanistan pending US decision

By Meena Haseeb - Tue Feb 12 2013, 3:15 pm

Australia's military role in Afghanistan pending US decisionAustralian defense minister Stephen Smith on Tuesday announced Australia won’t be able to determine its military contribution to Afghanistan post-2014 until the US makes up its mind.

According to his speech to the Australian Defense Magazine congress in Canberra today, Australian government is about to start the conversation with NATO, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US on Australia’s role next year and beyond 2014.

“What the United States and Afghanistan agree … is the starting point,” Mr Smith said adding that “Once that is clearer, then Australia and other NATO/ISAF countries will be able to make a judgment about what role, if any, others, including Australia, might play.”

He also said that US President Barack Obama could give some indication of the administration’s stance in his state of the union speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Minister Smith said Australia had committed 100 million-a-year (almost $102.91 million) for three years from 2015 to support the Afghan National Security Forces beyond the withdrawal of western forces.

The task force in Afghanistan was now in the process of removing equipment from Afghanistan but there would not be any substantial reduction in troop numbers until late in the year.

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