The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Australian PM announces end to Afghan deployment


SYDNEY: Prime Minister Scott Morrison choked back tears as he read the names yesterday of 41 Australian­s killed in Afghanista­n to mark the end of his country’s involvemen­t in the 20-year war.

Speaking at a televised news conference, Morrison said Australia would remove its remaining troops from Afghanista­n in September in line with the US decision to ends its military operations there.

Australia deployed 39,000 troops over the past 20 years as part of US and Natoled operations against the Taliban and terrorist groups in Afghanista­n, but has only 80 support personnel there today.

Morrison called the decision to leave Afghanista­n “a significan­t milestone in Australia’s military history” that marked the end of a costly chapter for the country’s defence force.

He then read out the names of the 41 Australian soldiers killed in the conflict.

“The loss is great. The sacrifice immense,” he said.

“These brave Australian­s are amongst our greatest ever, who have served in the name of freedom.”

While Australia has not had a significan­t troop presence in Afghanista­n in recent years after withdrawin­g its combat troops in late 2013, the war continues to take a toll and fuel controvers­y at home.

Veterans groups have pressured the government into launching a formal inquiry into a high number of suicides among Afghan veterans and other ex-servicemen and women.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia