Australian troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014

10:03, August 26, 2010      

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Australian troops are likely to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, defense force head Angus Houston said on Thursday.

While the mission to train Afghan army and police in the Uruzgan province will take two to four years, Australian soldiers will remain there past that time, he said.

"We will still be there supporting them beyond the two to four years, for a period of time," Air Chief Marshal Houston told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Senator Houston is aware of polls showing a large number of people are concerned about Australia's involvement in Afghanistan.

"But there's also a large number who think it's very necessary that we continue to run this contribution to the counter- insurgency campaign."

The mission was well defined and Australian troops were performing "superbly" despite the losses, and Air Chief Marshal Houston said young Afghan soldiers were improving day by day.

"I know by the end of the training period they will be a very good fighting formation. That will be the legacy we leave".

Since 2001, 21 Australian troops have been killed in action in Afghanistan, with 149 wounded.

Source: Xinhua


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