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    Australia to give Afghan forces AUD100m a year

    KABUL (PAN): Visiting Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith on Monday said his country would provide Afghanistan 100 million Australian dollars (AUD) annually after 2014 in assistance for strengthening its security forces.

    Smith, who called on President Hamid Karzai at his office in Kabul, discussed with him Canberra’s cooperation with Kabul beyond the 2014 deadline of foreign troops pullout, the Afghan-led peace process and the security transition, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.

    Smith said the transfer of security responsibility from Australian forces to their Afghan counterparts in central Uruzgan province had been on the track.

    He said though his country would pull out its troops from Afghanistan until the end of 2013, yet it would continue training Afghan security forces.

    Karzai welcomed Smith on his visit to Kabul, calling as very important the long-term strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

    He also appreciated Australia's pledges towards financially supporting Afghan security forces, vowing to ensure Canberra’s aid was effectively used.