Afghan War Painted in Tones: Chief of Defense
Australian Defense Chief Angus Campbell has acknowledged that the country’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan would be “painted in nuances” in the history books.
The last remaining Australian troops are preparing to leave Afghanistan later this year, ending the 20-year conflict.
General Campbell said Australia’s contribution to the NATO-led mission has helped thwart terrorism and bring security and stability to Afghanistan.
There were 41 Australians killed in the war, while countless more returned with physical and mental injuries.
Allegations of war crimes have also been made against some of Australia’s elite soldiers, including the murder of more than two dozen Afghan civilians.
“The story of Australia’s longest war is already being written,” General Campbell said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
“This chapter in our country’s military history will be painted in different hues.”
General Campbell said this would be colored in part by the allegations of illegal conduct.
But he hopes this will be understood from the perspective of a larger web, including the acts of bravery and bravery by Australian troops and partner agencies in Afghanistan.
Asked about the security situation in Afghanistan, General Campbell said the withdrawal decisions were based on the assessment that the conflict was not going to be resolved militarily and that negotiations involving the Taliban would be necessary to see peace. come back to the country.
Afghan security forces are still fighting across the country, especially in the traditional strongholds of the Taliban and its partner organizations.
“We are seeing a continued level of violence in the country,” General Campbell said.
“It will truly be a negotiated settlement.”
He downplayed the prospect of the Taliban quickly gaining control once coalition troops left Afghanistan.
Labor Senator Penny Wong has pressed officials over the decision to close the Australian Embassy in Kabul.
Senator Wong announced a series of questions on visa access routes for Afghan nationals who had worked for the Australian government, including local interpreters and staff.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed that the government had considered a number of options before the cabinet decided to close the embassy.
Senator Payne said that with the departure of international troops from Afghanistan, it was determined that the risks to the Embassy would increase dramatically and that “mitigation measures” would not be able to reduce threats to a level. acceptable.
The minister said future options for Australia’s diplomatic presence were the subject of ongoing discussions with other allies.
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