News / Asia

Australia to Pull Troops Out of Afghanistan

FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
FILE - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Phil Mercer
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to declare an end to his country’s longest war.  Abbott said the return to Australia of more than 1,000 troops before Christmas would be “bittersweet” because Afghanistan remained a dangerous place where many foreign soldiers had died.
 
Speaking at a special ceremony at the Australian-run base in Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province, Prime Minister Abbott announced the end of his nation’s longest military engagement.
 
Canberra will order home about 1,000 troops by the end of the year, although Abbott has pledged to support Afghanistan in the future.
 
There is a commitment to train Afghan National Security Forces and several hundred Australians will continue to serve in non-combat roles in the country.
 
 Abbott hopes the U.S.-led campaign will leave a positive legacy in Afghanistan.
 
“Australia's longest war is ending not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that's better for our presence here,” he said.
 
Abbott said that Australian troops in Afghanistan have helped to build 200 schools as well as health clinics, while roads have been upgraded.

He said Australians don't fight wars of conquest but fight for peoples' right to live their own lives and worship in their own way.
 
But Australia, like all other foreign forces, has paid a high price during the long conflict.
 
40 Australians have died during the war in Afghanistan and 260 wounded. The cost of the war to the government in Canberra is estimated to be about $7 billion.

Richard Tanter, a Professor of International Relations at Melbourne University, believes Australia’s involvement has mostly been a failure.
 
“In no sense has it been worth it," he said. "There was never a serious Australian strategic interest in the occupation and the war in Afghanistan for more than a decade and a half. The Taliban government was overthrown within three months of the initial invasion. If there was ever a justification for going in there, that was the time to get out. Since then we've stayed there simply because it was a requirement of our alliance with the United States, so-called alliance maintenance.”
 
In an official statement released Tuesday, Abbott said the mission in Afghanistan had been critical to Australia's national security.  
 
Similar to the United States' other NATO allies, public support in Australia for the Afghan war has waned over the years. A Lowy Institute public opinion poll released in June indicated that a majority of Australians say the war was not worth fighting.
 
However there remains strong public support for Canberra’s security alliance with the United States as well as support for basing U.S. troops in Australia.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: k.senthil kumaran from: chennai
October 29, 2013 10:39 AM
When the Osama Bil laden was shot dead, Chinese , Indian and Afgan govt s reaction is one and the same, west should stop breeding Osama s and breeding terrorism. Which had costed the whole lot of other people suffer by way other nations army s presence and their involvement in their day to day life and talks of sacrifice is ridiculus.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs