Australia’s Efforts in Afghanistan — Minister for Defence Question Without Notice

I thank the mem­ber for his question.

Our efforts in Afghanistan are of course cen­tred upon the 1,550 troop com­mit­ment we have in Uruz­gan Province, as well as the sub­stan­tial diplo­mat­ic, civil­ian and devel­op­ment assis­tance effort that we make both in Kab­ul and in Uruz­gan Province.

I know—and this was reflect­ed by the con­do­lence motion we had yes­ter­day, when the Prime Min­is­ter, the Leader of the Oppo­si­tion and the Mem­ber for Fad­den spoke—that those indi­vid­ual, per­son­al con­tri­bu­tions and sac­ri­fices are very much appre­ci­at­ed by the House.

We will, we hope in the course of this year, pro­vide the oppor­tu­ni­ty through a par­lia­men­tary debate for all mem­bers of the House to com­ment upon the strate­gic com­mit­ment that we are mak­ing to Afghanistan. I have been in dis­cus­sions with the Leader of the House about the nature and tim­ing of that debate. The Leader of the House will con­sult inter­est­ed par­ties in due course. At this stage we want to hold the debate and pro­vide that oppor­tu­ni­ty in the course of this year.

Last week I was in Kab­ul and Uruz­gan Province with the Chief of the Defence Force and the Sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Defence. 

In Kab­ul I met with two Afghan Ministers—the Min­is­ter for Defence, Min­is­ter War­dak, and the Min­is­ter for the Inte­ri­or, Min­is­ter Moham­ma­di. What struck me was their very strong com­mit­ment to the tran­si­tion to Afghan author­i­ties of secu­ri­ty arrange­ments and their strong and deep com­mit­ment to the train­ing process now in place. Our mis­sion in Uruz­gan Province, of course, is to train the Afghan Nation­al Army and to assist in the train­ing of Afghan police to enable the Afghan author­i­ties to take care of secu­ri­ty mat­ters themselves.

In Kab­ul I also met with Gen­er­al Petraeus at Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force head­quar­ters and dis­cussed a num­ber of points of inter­est to the House.

First­ly, ISAF and Gen­er­al Petraeus, and our Unit­ed States ally, very much appre­ci­ate the work we do in Afghanistan, not just those per­son­nel in Uruz­gan but also the embed­ded Aus­tralian defence per­son­nel in ISAF head­quar­ters. They are very much appre­ci­at­ed by ISAF, which is a Unit­ed Nations man­dat­ed force. 

I also met with Ambas­sador Sed­will, NATO’s Senior Civil­ian Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and indi­cat­ed to both Gen­er­al Petraeus and Ambas­sador Sed­will that we were look­ing favourably at the prospect of pro­vid­ing more police train­ers and that we would ensure that with­in the allo­ca­tion of 1,550 we would pro­vide the 20 addi­tion­al artillery train­ers which have been request­ed by NATO.

In Tarin Kowt, in Uruz­gan Province, I met with our offi­cers and our troops. They have been doing it tough, as the con­do­lence motion yes­ter­day reflect­ed, but are mak­ing good progress on the train­ing of the Afghan Nation­al Army. We start­ed that task in Decem­ber 2008 and it has only been very recent­ly that we have been train­ing all of the Kan­daks of the Afghan Nation­al Army 4th Brigade. This is mak­ing a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the effort. 

I spoke with the CDF, the Sec­re­tary and with our offi­cers and troops on the ground about force pro­tec­tion mea­sures. Over the last 12 months the Gov­ern­ment has increased force pro­tec­tion mea­sures by over $1.1 bil­lion and these are in the course of being imple­ment­ed in Afghanistan. The Sec­re­tary, the CDF and I came away from Afghanistan want­i­ng to see whether it was pos­si­ble for us to do more so far as force pro­tec­tion is con­cerned, in the IED area, which has been very prob­lem­at­ic as far as our troops are concerned.

We are also very pleased that the tran­si­tion to the Com­bined Team Uruzgan—now with the Unit­ed States pres­ence, fol­low­ing the with­draw­al of the Dutch—has gone very well. We will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss all of these mat­ters and more in the course of the par­lia­men­tary debate, and the Gov­ern­ment is very much look­ing for­ward to that. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twitter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →