Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, is in Brussels to attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
Senator Faulkner said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss progress in Afghanistan with NATO and non-NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) contributing nations. “Australia remains committed to the ISAF mission. We strongly support ISAF’s integrated civilian military approach, and the enhanced civilian contribution that the Prime Minister announced in April will ensure that our commitment is aligned with these efforts,” Senator Faulkner said.
“Much work lies ahead, but there are promising signs of progress in Afghanistan and Australia is making a major contribution to the international effort there.”
Senator Faulkner is also holding bilateral discussions with a number of partner nations.
Of the 46 ISAF nations, Australia is the 10th largest contributor, and is the largest non-NATO troop contributing nation.
Senator Faulkner said Australia continues to support the main effort in the south through training and mentoring the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade in Oruzgan.
“Australia is also contributing to the broader regional campaign with our Special Operations Task Group, Rotary Wing Group, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance assets, strategic lift aircraft and personnel embedded throughout ISAF headquarters,” Senator Faulkner said.
“It is important for coalition partners to meet and discuss the best way forward for Afghanistan. I look forward to meeting with colleagues to discuss this critical issue.” Senator Faulkner will be accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt.
Michael Nguyen (John Faulkner): 02 6277 7800 or 0429 571 843
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
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