Australia troops to retreat from Afghanistan within two to four years

19:52, June 23, 2010      

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Australia on Wednesday announced it could complete its core mission and pull hundreds of troops out of Afghanistan within two to four years.

The move came as the nation's military has suffered its deadliest month since joining coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2001, with five soldiers dying in a bomb attack and a helicopter crash since June 7.

According to Australian Associated Press, public support for the war has been on the wane, and it is likely to continue to fall following the deaths of three commandos in a helicopter crash.

A poll by Essential Research showed 61 percent of respondents wanted Australia to withdraw from Afghanistan, and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who likely faces an election this year, has noted it is an unpopular conflict.

Defence Minister John Faulkner said Australia could begin withdrawing its soldiers once they have completed their mission to train the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade in Uruzgan Province.

Based on the latest advice from the Australian Defense Force ( ADF), Senator Faulkner said that Australian troops were expected to complete that mission within two to four years.

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