The PM said around 100 troops would join 440 Australian soldiers already operating in Afghanistan as part of the mentoring and reconstruction taskforce.


There would also be an increase for Australia\’s Special Operations Task Group which is on the front line in the fight againt the Taliban, he said.

An additional Australian Federal Police team of about 10 officers to train and advise the Afghan national police would also be deployed.

Australia presently has some 1,100 troops in the war-torn nation, most operating in the dangerous Oruzgan province in the country\’s south-central region.

“There will be no additional combat units,” Mr Rudd said during a news conference in Canberra today, adding the extra troops would be used for training.

A withdrawal of about 100 soldiers from a security detail based in Baghdad was also announced in the same conference.

Afghan security \’worsening\’

Security in Afghanistan was deteriorating, he said.

Australia also had an enduring obligation to the United States under the ANZUS Treaty, he said.

“To reduce the threat of terrorist attacks on Australian citizens in the future the Australian government has decided to increase our Defence Force commitment in Afghanistan,” Mr Rudd said.

“A measured increase in Australian forces in Afghanistan will enhance the security of Australian citizens given that so many terrorists attacking Australians in the past have been trained in Afghanistan.”

Mr Rudd said more than 100 Australians had been killed in terrorist attacks in recent years.

“We must not allow Afghanistan to once again become the unimpeded training ground and operating base for global terrorist activity,” he said.

The prime minister said allied forces were not winning the war in Afghanistan.

“Australia concurs with the United States that the current civilian and military strategy is not working,” he said.

“If anything, security in Afghanistan is deteriorating.”

“The civilian efforts will help ensure for each military success that we have, that success is appropriately reinforced through policing efforts and development assistance that also strengthens the local economy.”

The personnel increase would take Australia\’s total commitment to 1,550.