Australia increases Afghanistan commitment by 30 – July 2017
The Australian Government has agreed to expand its training force in Afghanistan.
A joint statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne said, “Australia will increase its contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support training mission, in order to help Afghan forces secure their country and fight the global scourge of terrorism.
“Afghanistan is facing a challenging security environment, and this extra support from Australia will help deny terrorists the safe havens that threaten the international community.
“The Australian Government has agreed to increase the Australian Defence Force train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan by 30 personnel, from 270 to approximately 300 people.
“These additional advisers will provide crucial extra support and expertise to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
“The increase follows a recent request from NATO to contributing nations to consider boosting their contributions to the Resolute Support Mission.
“Given the centrality of Afghanistan in the global fight against terrorism, a larger Australian contribution to the Resolute Support Mission is both timely and appropriate.
“These adjustments have been considered in light of broader ADF commitments across the globe.”
Australian Defence force chief Mark Binskin said all coalition countries were asked to re-examine their contributions.
The Trump administration is still weighing up whether to increase US troop numbers in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the year, US General John Nicholson described the security situation in Afghanistan as a “strategic stalemate” and called for about 5200 more foreign troops for training and mentoring of local security forces.
“While there have been some expected setbacks in the security situation since 2015, the Afghan security institutions continue to demonstrate resilience in the face of a challenging security environment,” Senator Payne said.
Australia is expected to maintain its military support in Afghanistan until at least June 2018.