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Australian troops to start returning from Afghanistan in 2012

06-23-2010 13:45 BJT

CANBERRA, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian Defense Minister John Faulkner on Wednesday signaled Australia could start bringing some troops home from Afghanistan in two years.

The government has stressed the mission for Australia's trainers in Afghanistan, who make up about half of the 1550- strong commitment, will be completed once troops have fully trained the 4th brigade of the Afghan National Army in Oruzgan province.

An assessment of the expected time frame to train the Afghans, so they were capable of taking charge of security, had been completed recently, Senator Faulkner said in a statement.

Defense Force chief Angus Houston had provided advice that on the basis of solid progress to date defense now estimated that within two to four years Australian would be able to hand over the main security responsibility to the Afghan National Army in Oruzgan province.

Senator Faulkner said he expected that when the training mission was completed Australia would "adjust our force levels".

This would be possible as the training mission became more of an over-watch role.

The new timetable for the partial withdrawal of troops came as polls showed the Australian public becoming increasingly frustrated by the war in Afghanistan.

Three Australian commandos died in a helicopter crash this week. The incident came two weeks after another two soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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