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Australians To Tell NATO: Staying On In Afghanistan …

  • October 20th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-new.jpgAustralia is to stay in Afghanistan for at least another four years and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says she may go to the NATO summit in Lisbon next month to take part in talks over strategy.

afghanistan-australia-flag.jpgMs Gillard has told the Australian Parliament (19.10.10) the prime objective of the Australian contingent in the country was contributing to the build-up of self-sufficient local forces – specifically mentoring of the Afghani Army 4th Brigade.

Maturity of the plan would not mean that overseas forces would withdraw; the need for assistance with security and civil reconstruction would continue for some time after the Afghan authorities assumed the lead in armed protection.

Australia is engaged in the war against Taliban insurgents as part of ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) set up by the North Atlantic alliance.

NATO Heads of Government are to meet in Lisbon on 19-20.11.10 to debate a set of sweeping changes in overall, longer-term strategy expected to extend its work in such fields as counter-terrorism or cyber warfare.

The Afghanistan commitment will also be on the agenda, with tension  continuing to exist between the United States, and European governments now starting to extract their forces from the long campaign in that country.

At issue also is how far the alliance should extend its interests beyond its traditional geographical sphere based on the North Atlantic.

After the election of the Rudd Labor government in Australia in 2007, it negotiated a place for itself at the table, in high-level discussions within NATO, on the Afghanistan campaign.

The Opposition Leader in Australia, Tony Abbott, in the current parliamentary debate, pledged agreement with the timetable for keeping forces in Afghanistan, outlined by the government.

The Opposition in recent months began to campaign for a build-up of Australian forces in Afghanistan, to go beyond the present number of some 1400.

The issue had not been subject to a full-scale debate in parliament before this week, but Ms Gillard has now undertaken to deliver a formal statement on Afghanistan each year.


Julia Gillard, Prime Minister, “No Safe Haven”, Prime Ministerial Statement to House of Representatives, 19.10.10., (20.10.10).

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Brussels, “NATO Ministers start the sprint to the Lisbon Summit”, 14.10.10., (20.10.10).

Tony Abbott, Leader of the Federal Opposition, “Parliamentary Statement on Afghanistan- House of Representatives”, 19.10.10., (20.10.10).