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Last group of Australian troops leaves Uruzgan

Last group of Australian troops leaves Uruzgan

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Dec 11, 2013 - 18:34

TIRINKOT (PANinfo-icon): The last group of Australian troops with the Provincial Reconstructioninfo-icon Team (PRTinfo-icon) withdrew from central Uruzgan province on Wednesday, the governor’s house said.

The withdrawing troops transferred their base in Tirinkot to Afghan forces at a ceremony, where Governor Amir Mohammad Akhund Zada, other Afghan officials and NATOinfo-icon forces representatives were present.

A statement issued from the governor’s house said the flag of foreign forces was replaced with Afghan flag during the ceremony.

It said the foreign troops handed over the base to Afghan forces soon after their departure, adding the security responsibility had already been assumed by Afghan forces in the province earlier this year, when most Australian troops left.

Uruzgan police chief Brig Gen Matiullah Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News the withdrawal would have no impact on the security situation in the province.

He said foreign forces had already been replaced by Afghan forces in districts.

A resident of the area and a civil societyinfo-icon member, Izzatullah Latifi, said he was happy with the withdrawal of foreign troops, saying Afghan forces were now well-capable to maintain security on their own.

Earlier this year, Australia announced two-thirds of its troops in Afghanistaninfo-icon would be home by the end of 2013 when the international military base at Tirinkit closes.

The defence minister, Stephen Smith, said at least 1,000 of the 1,550 Australian troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn by the end of the year.

Australia had the 10th largest national force in Afghanistan and was the largest military contributor outside NATO.

mds/ma

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