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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/30/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Prime Minister Abbott says conflict has been 'Australia's longest war'

In a surprise visit to the Australian-run base in Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province in Afghanistan, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared an end to his country's longest war. The return to Australia of more than 1,000 troops before Christmas, Abbott says would be "bittersweet" as Afghanistan remained a dangerous place where many foreign soldiers had died.

Australia has paid a very high price during the long conflict. Forty Australians have died there, with 260 wounded. The cost of the war to the government in Canberra is estimated to be about $7 billion.

Australia has paid a very high price during the long conflict. Forty Australians have died there, with 260 wounded. The cost of the war to the government in Canberra is estimated to be about $7 billion.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

10/30/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Australia, Afghanistan, pullout, involvement, public support

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abbott says he hopes the U.S.-led campaign will leave a positive legacy. "Australia's longest war is ending not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that's better for our presence here," he said.
Australian troops there have helped to build 200 schools as well as health clinics, while roads have been upgraded. Abbott reiterated that Australians don't fight wars of conquest but fight for peoples' right to live their own lives and worship in their own way.
Australia has paid a very high price during the long conflict. Forty Australians have died there, with 260 wounded. The cost of the war to the government in Canberra is estimated to be about $7 billion.

Not all share the new prime minister's views on the nation's involvement there. Professor of International Relations at Melbourne University Richard Tanter, believes Australia's involvement has mostly been a failure.
"In no sense has it been worth it," he said. "There was never a serious Australian strategic interest in the occupation and the war in Afghanistan for more than a decade and a half. The Taliban government was overthrown within three months of the initial invasion. If there was ever a justification for going in there, that was the time to get out. Since then we've stayed there simply because it was a requirement of our alliance with the United States, so-called alliance maintenance."
Abbott had earlier said in a statement that the mission in Afghanistan had been critical to Australia's national security. As was the case of the United States' other NATO allies, public support in Australia for the Afghan war has waned over the years.

A Lowy Institute public opinion poll released in June indicated that a majority of Australians say the war was not worth fighting. There remains strong public support for Canberra's security alliance with the United States as well as support for basing U.S. troops in Australia.

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