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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Security arrangements in Afghanistan from 2015 and beyond

While the foreign military presence in Afghanistan continues to decline, the number of civilian casualties is on the rise. By the end of 2014, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will take full responsibility for security across the country when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission comes to an end. A much reduced foreign military presence will remain in Afghanistan post-2014 and despite warnings anticipating increased threat levels from 2015–2017, the existing force of 352,000 ANSF personnel are expected to be reduced to 228,500 by the end of 2017—as agreed at the 2012 Chicago Summit. Read more...

Afghanistan: case for a 'lessons learnt' study?

On 16 May 2013, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee tabled its report on The administration, management and objective of Australia's overseas development programs in Afghanistan in the context of the ‘Transition Decade’. On 26 June 2014, more than a year after the report was released, the Government tabled its response. Read more...

Uncertain future: Australian aid to Afghanistan

Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Afghanistan has increased substantially over the past few years from $82.1 million in 2009–10 to a peak of $198.4 million in 2011–12. Afghanistan was the fourth largest recipient of Australian ODA in 2012–13 (after Indonesia, PNG and the Solomons) with an expected expenditure of about $182.8 million. This includes ODA-eligible expenditure by other government departments, including Immigration and Citizenship ($6.9 million), Defence ($9.2 million) and Attorney-General’s–Australian Federal Police ($17.7 million).Approximately 20 per cent of AusAID’s expenditure was in Uruzgan and included the following programs:Children of Uruzgan Program (... Read more...

Global asylum trends 2012: how does Australia compare?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently released its latest report on the number of asylum applications lodged in the 44 industrialised countries that provide statistics to the UNHCR.The 2012 report, Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries, recorded the second highest number of applications this decade with 479 300 asylum applications lodged (the highest level was in 2003 when there were 505 000 applications). Afghanistan remained the main country of origin of asylum-seekers in 2012, followed by Syria with a 191 per cent increase in asylum claims.The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted that both new (Syria) and old (Afghanistan) con... Read more...

Progress towards transition in Afghanistan

The Parliamentary Library has released a new publication—Australia's involvement in Afghanistan: revised facts and figures—which updates previously published material concerning Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, (see FlagPost entries Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan—update, 10 June 2011; Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan – frequently asked questions, 15 October 2010; Background Note Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan since 2001: a chronology, 16 July 2010; and the Afghanistan section of the Anzac Day Kit).The publication’s release coincided with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Statement to Parliament on Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan. The stateme... Read more...

Australia's military involvement in Afghanistan - update

This FlagPost entry updates material previously posted for the Parliamentary debate on Afghanistan (see Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan – frequently asked questions, 15 October 2010). The following information has been compiled to assist Members and Senators prepare condolence motions for Australian Defence Force personnel recently killed in Afghanistan and to highlight some of the issues raised in the media.In the eight months since the previous FlagPost entry on Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, Australia’s military personnel commitment levels, mission and anticipated draw down date of 2014 have not changed. As such, this update revises information about Australian military co... Read more...

Parliamentary Library Vital Issues Seminar—Australia’s role and commitment in Afghanistan

This seminar, held on 20 October 2010, featured distinguished speakers Major General Jim Molan AO DSC and Mr Geoffrey Barker who provided contrasting perspectives on Australia’s continued involvement in Afghanistan. The seminar was chaired by Senator Russell Trood.Major General Jim Molan (Retd) MAJGEN Molan presented a speech entitled ‘Flying in the face of history, graveyard of empires’. MAJGEN Molan commented that Afghanistan is arguably the most invaded and occupied nation on the planet and that contrary to popular belief not all of these invasions have failed! He noted, however, that the difference between previous conflicts and now is that the objective of the current war is not to occu... Read more...

Seeking asylum from Afghanistan

What is the situation globally? Afghanistan has been the leading country of origin of refugees for the past three decades with up to 6.4 million of its citizens having sought international protection during peak years. At the end of 2009, there were more than 2.9 million Afghan refugees and one out of four refugees in the world was from Afghanistan. In total there were over 3.6 million people of concern to the UNHCR for Afghanistan at the end of 2009. (See the UNHCR's 2009 Global Trends and Global Report 2009–Afghanistan for more details on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.)What is the situation in our region? Due to the various conflicts in the Middle East and South West Asia our ... Read more...

Australia's involvement in Afghanistan - frequently asked questions

On 12 October 2010, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced that the Parliament of Australia would debate Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister’s media release said ‘she believed it was important that all Australians understood the critical mission in Afghanistan’ and that the debate ‘will provide an opportunity to fully explain the Government's ongoing support for the current International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan’. The following information has been compiled to assist Members and Senators as they prepare for the debate. 1. What is the history of Australia’s involvement in Afghanist... Read more...

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