POLITICS

Australia To Send 30 Extra Troops To Afghanistan

It takes our total commitment to 300 troops.

29/05/2017 9:41 AM AEST | Updated 29/05/2017 11:27 AM AEST
Department of Defence
An Australian soldier on patrol in Afghanistan.

Australia will send a further 30 troops to Afghanistan, taking the national personnel commitment to 300.

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

"The Australia government has agreed to increase the Australian Defence Force commitment to Afghanistan by 30 personnel, from around 270 personnel to 300 personnel," she said.

Payne said the extra commitment came after a NATO request to bolster operations in the country, conducting training and other measures with Afghan forces. NATO requested "a few thousand" extra troops from member nations.

The announcement comes just days after reports of U.S. President Donald Trump requesting more Australian troops in Afghanistan.

"These additional ADF members will allow Australia to commit additional advisers to further develop the long-term capabilities of the Afghan security forces as part of our current train, advise and assist mission," the defence minister said.

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

Payne said further information about the specific allocation of Australian forces was still in negotiations, and would be confirmed in coming weeks.

"We expect other partners to also increase their contribution to the resolute support mission. In response to the NATO request, Australia's actions are responsible, appropriate and commensurate with our broader strategic interests," Payne said.

"Australians should be extremely proud of the contribution the more than 34,500 personnel and civilians have made as part of Operation Slipper in supporting the coalition in Afghanistan."

More to come.

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