Australia has ended a 20-year military commitment to the war in Afghanistan after the final troops left the war-torn country.
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After US President JoeBiden announced the exit strategy for all US troops by 11 September 2021, foreign contingents under NATO command will also withdraw from Afghanistan, including the final Australian Defence Force personnel.
President Biden has called for the “senseless violence has to stop”, after meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his former political foe, Abdullah Abdullah, at the White House.
“Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want,” Biden said.
Since 2001, the Australian Defence Force’s mission has been to “contain the threat from international terrorism”, under Operation Slipper and Operation Highroad – claiming the lives of 41 Australian soldiers.
The Defence Department’s website states that Australia currently contributes “around 80 Defence personnel” to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. They are involved in training, advising and assisting local forces.
The move saw the US begin to draw down its 2,500 troops, and the 7,000 non-US forces from NATO countries, Australia and New Zealand pack up after the 20-year war.
As the mission draws to a close, the situation in Afghanistan would need to be monitored for decades to come, according to Defence Minister Peter Dutton, adding that it is “very unlikely” Australian troops would return.
“We don’t have any plans to go back in.”
“If there is a resurgence or if there is the ability of a terrorist attack in our country, we will do whatever is humanly and legally possible to keep our people safe.”
“If there is an issue with the Taliban, as the United States has already demonstrated, they will have an ongoing commitment to dealing with that,” Dutton added.
More to follow.