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Australian role in Afghanistan after transition waits on US decision: Defense Minister

English.news.cn   2013-02-12 11:57:03            

CANBERRA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australia needs to get precision from the United States about what the United States sees as the scale of its transition draw down in Afghanistan, and its post- 2014 transition proposals, Defense Minister Stephen Smith said on Tuesday.

According to his speech to the Australian Defense Magazine congress in Canberra today, Australian government is about to start the conversation with NATO, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US on Australia's role next year and beyond 2014.

"What the United States and Afghanistan agree about the United States presence in Afghanistan post 2014 transition, and what role any United States forces left behind will play, is the starting point. ," Smith said.

"Once that is clearer, then Australia and other NATO/ISAF countries will be able to make a judgment about what role, if any, others, including Australia, might play."

Minister Smith said Australia had committed 100 million-a-year (almost 102.91 million USD) for three years from 2015 to support the Afghan National Security Forces beyond the withdrawal of western forces.

The taskforce in Afghanistan was now in the process of removing equipment from Afghanistan but there would not be any substantial reduction in troop numbers until late in the year.

Editor: Hou Qiang
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