News National Australia to send more troops to Afghanistan

Australia to send more troops to Afghanistan

Australian soldiers Middle East
Australian is sending 30 more troops to Afghanistan. Photo: AAP
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Australia will increase troop numbers in Afghanistan by 30, taking its total number of defence personnel in advisory roles to 300.

Defence Minister Marise Payne made the announcement during a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.

“Given the centrality of Afghanistan in the global fight against terrorism, an enhanced Australian contribution to the resolute support mission is both timely and appropriate,” she said.

NATO, in a request to Canberra, did not nominate a specific number, Senator Payne said.

Defence force chief Mark Binskin said all coalition countries were asked to re-examine their contributions.

Earlier this year, US General John Nicholson described the security situation in Afghanistan as a “strategic stalemate” and called for a ramp up in foreign troops carrying out training and mentoring roles for local security forces.

“While there have been some expected setbacks in the security situation since 2015, the Afghan security institutions continue to demonstrate resilience in face of challenging security environment,” Senator Payne said.

Australia is expected to maintain its military support in Afghanistan until at least June 2018.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said it was important Afghanistan did not become a safe haven for terrorists intent on destroying western democracies.

“We’ve made a commitment in blood and the lives of people and we’ve got to see this commitment through,” he told ABC Radio.