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Australian Prime Minister Makes Surprise Afghan Visit

Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan's Oruzgan Province. (file photo)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made an unexpected visit to Afghanistan to mark the impending end of Australia's military involvement in the conflict.

His office said on October 29 that Abbott arrived at the Australian headquarters at Tarin Kowt under tight security for a ceremony to mark the end of Australia's involvement in the war that has cost the lives of 40 Australian soldiers over more than a decade.

The headquarters will be given to the Afghan National Army and most of Australia's more than 1,000 troops will be withdrawn by Christmas.

Abbott said the withdrawal was a "bittersweet" occasion and that "Afghanistan remains a dangerous place despite all that has been done."

Based on reporting by AP and AFP