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Australia Offers To Keep Troops In Afghanistan After 2014

Australian soldiers during an operation in southern Afghanistan in 2009 (file photo)
KABUL -- The Australian ambassador to Afghanistan says his government has offered to keep up to 400 troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S.-led NATO forces in 2014.

Jon Philip told RFE/RL that Australia has made an offer to the Afghan government to keep between 100 and 400 troops in Afghanistan into "2015 and onwards." He said it would be up to Afghan officials to decide if they want the Australian soldiers to stay.

Australia currently has around 1,200 soldiers in Afghanistan, most of them based in Urozgan Province.

Philip said after the closure of the main Australian base in Tarinkot at the end of the year, Australia will have some 400 soldiers in Afghanistan. He said Australia is "very prepared to have [the soldiers] stay through 2015 and 2016."