Australia reaffirms its commitment to helping train Afghan defense forces

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-30 15:22:44|Editor: Zhou Xin
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CANBERRA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- After attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Defence Ministers' Meeting in Belgium on Thursday, Australia's Minister for Defence Marise Payne confirmed on Friday the Australian government's continuing commitment to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

In a statement released to the media on Friday, Payne said Australia would continue to support NATO in its mission to advise and train the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, as part of the ongoing mission to fight terrorism in the region.

Payne said the Australian government had agreed that an additional 30 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel would be deployed in Afghanistan on top of the nation's annual support fund.

"The government remains committed to enhancing the security of Afghanistan, which is why we agreed to increase the Australian Defence Force contribution to the Resolute Support mission from around 270 personnel to around 300 personnel," Payne said.

"This commitment comes on top of Australia's annual contribution of 100 million U.S. dollars towards Afghan security sector sustainment which will continue until at least 2020."

The Resolute Support mission has been ongoing in Afghanistan since late 2014. More than 13,500 NATO troops are currently stationed in the war-torn nation assisting with the peace process.

The meeting of defense ministers was held at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where Payne also met with counterparts from France, Ukraine and Turkey.

The minister also announced that she had signed the International Partnership and Cooperation Program between NATO and Australia.