16 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-191

Australian Prime Minister visits Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable John Howard, made a short visit to Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday to meet with President Hamid Karzai and the commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), General Dan McNeill. The meetings in Kabul followed an unscheduled visit by the Australian Prime Minister who greeted the 400 Australian troops based in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan.

Prime Minister Howard and the Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houstan received a briefing by General McNeill in Kabul.

Following the meeting with President Karzai, Prime Minister Howard pledged Australia's ongoing support in assisting Afghanistan. “We remain committed as a nation to assisting Afghanistan in resisting terrorism, in resisting the Taliban forces, in providing cooperation with other countries, a level of stability and a level of security.”

The prime minister made a surprise visit to his country’s largest contribution to the ISAF 1st Reconstruction Task Force in Southern Afghanistan earlier in the day.

Prime Minister Howard praised the efforts of the force and congratulated them on behalf of all Australians. “You have gone a long way to creating a new Afghanistan. I thank you and the Australian nation thanks you for that”, he  said.

During his visit, the Australian leader visited the Australian-run, Tarin Kowt Trade Training School, where Afghans are given instruction in carpentry and other construction skills. The Prime Minister also visited the Afghan National Army engineers that the Australians soldiers are mentoring.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/