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Morrison has also issued a written statement together with the new defence minister, Peter Dutton, and the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne.

It covers off many of the same details the prime minister outlined in his press conference in Perth, including the key deadline that “the last remaining Australian troops will depart Afghanistan by September 2021”.

More than 39,000 Australian defence force personnel have deployed on operations Slipper and Highroad, helping to protect the safety and security of the Australian people at home and overseas.

We encourage both parties to commit to the peace process and call on the Taliban to cease the violence. While our military contribution will reduce, we will continue to support the stability and development of Afghanistan through our bilateral partnership, and in concert with other nations. This includes our diplomatic presence, development cooperation program, and continued people-to-people links, including through our training and scholarship programs. Australia remains committed to helping Afghanistan preserve the gains of the last 20 years, particularly for women and girls.

The Australian confirmation on the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan is no surprise, following Joe Biden’s announcement overnight of a timetable to withdraw US and allied troops from the country by September – the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Biden declared overnight that it was time “to end America’s longest war” as he announced that nearly 10,000 US and Nato troops would return home from Afghanistan in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the2001 attacks.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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