News / Asia

Australian Military Chief Says Steady Progress Made in Afghanistan

An Australian soldier takes position during a NATO/ISAF joint task force patrol in Mirwais in the southern province of Uruzgan in Afghanistan (File)
An Australian soldier takes position during a NATO/ISAF joint task force patrol in Mirwais in the southern province of Uruzgan in Afghanistan (File)

Australian defense officials say more amored vehicles will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.

After two days of parliamentary testimony Tuesday, Defense Minister John Faulkner said that the government will spend $255 million on new armored vehicles to protect troops fighting a resurgent Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

Faulkner also said indicated his government will not send more troops to country, despite recent success against Taliban insurgents and signs that life is improving for Afghans.

Australian troops have been part of the multi-national force Afghanistan since late 2001. About 1,500 soldiers are there now to help in the fight militants, train local forces and assist civilian reconstruction efforts.

The country's top military officer, Air Chief Marshar Angus Houston, said during the hearing that Australian Special Forces have killed insurgents responsible for planting roadside bombs, which have inflicted terrible losses on coalition troops and civilians.  Houston added that while Afghanistan remains an extremely dangerous country, positive steps have been made, including vital military successes and in important social areas.

"Australian Special Forces and their partners, the provincial police reserve, have been active in targeting Taliban insurgent networks. Across Uruzgan in the last three years the number of schools has more than doubled. There are approximately 43,000 children registered in school, including 4,100 girls," said Houston.

Australia's military leaders think that better facilities, such as schools and electricity, might make Afghans less likely to side with the Taliban, which governed the country before the U.S.-led invasion nine years ago.

Houston cited a recent opinion poll he said suggests that more than half of the Afghan population thinks their battered nation is heading in the right direction.

However, he and Faulkner said that Australia will not send more troops to replace the Dutch force that will leave Uruzgan province in August and return to the Netherlands. To do so, they said, would undermine security at home, and the country's ability to respond to natural disasters and other problems in the Pacific. Instead, Canberra says NATO must assume extra responsibilities when the Dutch depart.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid