Thursday, March 18, 2010
On the job: Australian forces will again be involved in supporting Operation Mushtarak
Defence Minister John Faulkner told ABC News that Australian troops will be involved in the next phase of a major operation against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Operation Mushtarak is part of US General Stanley McChrystal's new strategy to reverse the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan.
Senator Faulkner says Australian troops have already played a significant role in operations throughout central Helmand province.
He says the focus is now turning to the Taliban insurgency around Kandahar.
"I expect Australian forces will again be involved in supporting General McChrystal's strategy," he said.
"Australia will play its part, which could again see ADF elements and their ANA (Afghan National Army) partners supporting the fight."
Senator Faulkner has appointed two senior Defence Force officers to key roles relating to the war in Afghanistan.
Major-General Brian Dawson will serve as Australia's military representative to NATO, while Major-General Ash Power will become a senior military adviser to the Afghan defence minister.
Senator Faulkner announced the appointments during a speech updating Parliament on the situation in Afghanistan.
He says a new strategy for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is paying dividends.
"The early gains of Operation Mushtarak highlight the value of ISAF's revised strategy," he said.
"As Admiral Mullen said in New York only a few days ago, 'the objective is not the enemy's defeat but the people's success'."