Australia to contribute $100mln annually to Afghan forces
Australia will contribute $100 million annually for three years beginning in 2015 toward the $4 billion a year cost of running the Afghan National Security Forces after they take responsibility for their country's security.
According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defense Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement Wednesday, May 16 they will take this commitment to the NATO and U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force summit in Chicago on Sunday and Monday.
This follows Australia's commitment to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund of $200 million over five years beginning in 2009-10.
Afghanistan will have responsibility for its own security by the end of 2014.
Gillard said she spoke by telephone to President Barack Obama late Tuesday about the size of the Australian financial contribution to the costs of the Afghan forces.
"That's going to cost some money to sustain those forces, just over $4 billion," Gillard told reporters. "Australia is prepared to play its part in meeting those costs for Afghan forces." (...)