Sydney – Australia has extended its Afghanistan security mission by an extra six months and pledged further monetary support for the nation’s security forces as the world grapples with a resurgent Taliban.
Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said in a statement ahead of the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Warsaw on Friday.
Australia, a key ally in the U.S.’ Middle Eastern conflicts pledged an extra 300 million Australian dollars over three years to continue development of Afghanistan’s security forces.
Australia has already committed 500 million Australian dollars from 2010 to 2017, with the extra funds extending the operation to 2020.
“It is vital to continue to build the capacity of the Afghan security forces to defend the Afghan people against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
“No senior Australian government official however will attend the Warsaw Summit, where Afghanistan’s security and “The revival of the Taliban will be of focus, due to a bitterly close national election one week ago that is still yet to be decided,’’ Turnbull said.
Australia has also extended its troop allocation to the 3,000 personnel strong, NATO-led Resolute Support mission that provides training, advice and assistance to the Afghan security forces.
“Australian Defence Force Personnel will continue to work alongside their counterparts from 29 other nations in noncombat roles into 2017,’’ Turnbull said.
Though Australia’s combat operations in Afghanistan ceased at the end of 2013, 270 troops had been detached to the NATO mission.
The commitment was due to end in 2016.
“It is important to continue our commitment to our international responsibilities and help prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists,’’ Turnbull said. (Xinhua/NAN)