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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid