Defence Minister John Faulkner reaffirms Australia's commitment to Afghanistan
October 25, 20091:55PM
DEFENCE Minister John Faulkner has confirmed Australia's commitment to the war in Afghanistan in meetings with members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Europe.
Senator Faulkner met with NATO and non-NATO counterparts on Friday to discuss the international community's efforts in Afghanistan.
He also met with defence ministers of 42 other ISAF nations in Bratislava, Slovakia, where they discussed NATO's strategic planning framework for Afghanistan for the coming year.
The defence minister said the meeting provided him with the opportunity to ``clearly outline Australia's commitment in Afghanistan.''
``I emphasised our focus on training and mentoring the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade in Oruzgan until they are able to take responsibility for the security and stability of the province,'' Senator Faulkner said in a statement.
Central to discussions were ISAF commander General Stanley McChrystal's assessment of the campaign in Afghanistan, the need for continuing support for the Afghan National Security Forces, and complementing military efforts with civil assistance and governance improvements at all levels, he said.
The defence minister also participated in meetings with counterparts from the US, UK, NATO, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and AfghanistanSenator Faulkner also thanked the Netherlands for the Dutch military's leadership and role in Oruzgan and urged NATO to ``speedily resolve'' a replacement, following the planned withdrawal of Dutch forces in August next year.