Australian PM announces Afghanistan troop increase on Kabul visit

January 18, 2016 00:31

SYDNEY  - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday a small increase in the Australian troop commitment to the NATO-led force supporting the Afghan central government during a surprise visit to Kabul.

Australia, which lost 41 soldiers in Afghanistan during its more than 12-year involvement in the conflict following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, will commit 20 more personnel to the mission, bringing its total to 270.

Turnbull, speaking at the Australian Embassy in Kabul, defended the decision despite rejecting a request last week from U.S. President Barack Obama to commit more Australian forces to the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

"The truth is that in 2016, nowhere is a long way from anywhere. The world is so connected, more than it has ever been before. It is absolutely critical that we recognize that security is a global issue," Turnbull said.

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