Australia committed to Afghanistan mission: PM

09:45, October 05, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday that her country was determined to serve its training mission in Afghanistan and looked forward to engaging with NATO in "a flexible way."

The newly sworn-in leader made the remarks after her first visit to NATO headquarters and her meeting with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels.

"Progress is being made in training the Afghan national army. That is what our soldiers are working on. We are engaged in our mission to train soldiers for the Afghan national army in Oruzgan province," she said, adding that progress was also achieved in aid and reconstruction.

She said the strategy now was transition of responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces and expected that the Australian training mission in Afghanistan would end in two to four years.

Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that "I can provide you with a roadmap (of transition in Afghanistan). I hope our summit in November will announce that a transition to lead Afghan responsibility is about to start at the beginning of 2011. And at the latest by July 2011."

"We will endorse President (Hamid) Karzai's ambition that Afghan security forces should be able to take lead responsibility all over Afghanistan by the end of 2014," he said.

Gillard said as "a very significant contributor" to NATO, "Australia will be looking forwards to having the ability to engage with NATO in a flexible way over time."

Australia, as the largest non-NATO troops contributor in Afghanistan, has 1,550 soldiers stationed in the country to help fight Taliban militants and train Afghanistan security forces. Twenty-one Australian troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, is expected to visit the European Union (EU) headquarters and attend the opening ceremony of the eighth Asia-Europe summit in Brussels later in the day.

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion