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 Post subject: PM 'serious' on Afghan troop mission
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:12 pm 
 
PM 'serious' on Afghan troop mission
July 07, 2005
From: AAP
PRIME Minister John Howard was seriously considering a request to send more troops to Afghanistan, with a decision likely as early as next week, he said today.

Australia is under increasing pressure to extend its troop deployment to the country after a renewed plea this week by Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Dr Abdullah called for help from Australia to stem escalating violence, with the shooting down of a US helicopter by Taliban forces last week highlighting fresh security concerns in his country.

Afghanistan's ambassador Mahmoud Saikal asked Canberra last week to commit to sending more troops.


Mr Saikal said great progress had been made in Afghanistan since 2002 and a further deployment of troops would provide stability as the country prepares for elections in September.

Mr Howard said the request would be considered by Cabinet next week.

"There's been a standing request from the government of Afghanistan over quite a period of time to a lot of countries including Australia to send troops," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

"Now we are going to look at it.

"I don't want to pre-empt what cabinet might decide.

"But we are going to look at it and if we do take a decision it will be announced next week."

Mr Howard said he had discussed the idea with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Defence Minister Robert Hill as well as the military.

He said while he had his own personal view on an increased troop commitment, he would wait to talk with his cabinet colleagues.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has warned the Government not to overdo a troop commitment in Afghanistan, suggesting Labor's support for a renewed deployment was conditional on winding back Australia's forces in Iraq.

Mr Howard made it clear that any decision on Afghanistan would not affect Australia's commitment in Iraq.

"The two issues are quite separate and if we were to decide on Afghanistan it would be taken in isolation to our commitment to Iraq, and that commitment will remain until the job is finished," he said.

Special Air Service Regiment troops served in Afghanistan in 2002 in the fight against remnants of the Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda terror organisation, but Australian involvement in Afghanistan now amounts to just one engineer engaged in mine clearance.


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AusMilitary.com is Australia's leading military discussion forum. Originally formed back in 2004 as AusSpecialForces.com as a forum for, by, and about the Australian Special Forces, the forum has since widened it's scope to include all members and branches of the ADF as well as our honoured guests and allies from overseas. Despite some sections being open to the public, the forum still enjoys the membership and advice of respected members of the Special Forces and Special Operations Forces both local and international, as well as those from elite specialities in the conventional forces. From recruit training right up to SF selection tips - if it's frank and honest advice you're after, you'll find it here.