Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the country’s longest conflict in Australia is over. Abbott said that Australian soldiers were leaving Afghanistan a better place after the war on terror.
After more than a decade of battle and the loss of 40 Australian soldiers, Abbott arrived at Tarin Kowt under unprecedented security for a ‘recognition ceremony’ to lower the flag on the war, news.com.au reports.
According to the report, Abbott and officers from four countries laid wreaths at the base memorial wall, carrying the names of 114 fallen soldiers, including the diggers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Governor of Oruzgan Province Amir Mohammad Akhunzada thanked Australia and other countries involved in the province from the bottom of his heart.
Defence force chief General David Hurley said he was immensely proud of the work of defence personnel. General Hurley said over the next 10 weeks, the Australian Defence Force would complete its mission in Oruzgan and most would begin to return to Australia, the report said. Under current plans, Australia will end all combat operations and withdraw some 1000 troops from Oruzgan Province by the end of the year.
However, about 400 will remain in a variety of roles, including mentoring the headquarters of the Afghan National Army (ANA) 205 Corps in Kandahar and assisting in training of ANA officer cadets in Kabul, the report added.