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Partial Afghanistan withdrawal welcome – but still no end in sight

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 17 Apr 2012

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that some of Australia's combat forces in Afghanistan may be withdrawn by 2013, but called on the Government to justify its commitments to the United States and Afghanistan governments.

Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence Senator Scott Ludlam recently returned from an ADF Parliamentary exchange trip to Afghanistan, visiting Kandahar, Tarin Kowt, and a Forward Operating Base in the Chora Valley.

"Prime Minister Gillard said ‘this is a war with a purpose and an end', yet in today's speech she outlined neither."

"A proposed strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan was disclosed to the Australian public by President Karzai before our Government had bothered to inform Australians of its existence. Why has the Australian Government made an open-ended commitment to the deployment of Australian Special Forces?"

"Most Australians will be relieved to hear that our troops are leaving Afghanistan, but late 2013 is still a long way away. And there appears to be no end in sight to the high-risk work of Australian Special Forces units in this violent and ambiguous conflict."

"The Prime Minister said ‘people are entitled to a genuine questioning of national policies in a matter so serious and difficult as this', which underlines the need for Parliamentary approval of future troop deployments to combat zones, rather than the Executive alone exercising this power without identifying the purpose of the deployment and the conditions of its end. The people we send into harm's way deserve better than the simplistic and one-dimensional political rationalisations that have been served up by successive Governments."

"The Greens have long been pushing for support services for those who are wounded - both physically and mentally - to be improved. For 32 grieving Australian families the war in Afghanistan will never be over."



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