Australian troops will be out of Afghanistan by 2013, according to the prepared speech that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to deliver on Tuesday, but the country remains committed to the overall cause of preserving the democratic government in the war-torn nation.
Media reports that came out Tuesday have indicated that immediate and partial drawdown of Diggers will commence as early as April, en route to a full withdrawal of the 1,500-strong Australian troops currently fighting in the Afghan War, which has been raging for several years.
Most of the Diggers are stationed in Uruzgan Province and since the start of the Afghan campaign, 32 have been killed while hundreds were injured.
The reports came out as Taliban insurgents launched what appeared as well-coordinated attacks in and around Kabul, which the Afghan security forces have repelled after several hours of fierce fighting.
International media outlets in Afghanistan have dispatched reports that about 30 attackers were in involved in the latest siege that specifically targeted government and diplomatic buildings in Kabul.
All of the attackers were killed, reports said, with the government side suffering only a single fatality.
The attacks highlighted lingering fears that NATO's complete withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the eventual collapse of the Hamid Karzai government but Ms Gillard, according to her speech, is set to allay such concerns.
According to The Australian, the prime minister intends to commit new military and financial support to the Afghan government that hopefully would help the country fend off attempts by the Taliban to grab back much country once most of the NATO troops leave.
The new military contingent that will be deployed in the country, the paper said, will come in the form of Special Forces - pretty much the same deployment that the United States intends to employ in battling the insurgents and other terror groups believe to be launching their attacks from Afghanistan.
The U.S., however, will continue deploying military advisers to key Afghan ministries while Australia, reports said, appears bent on shipping out much of its fighting brigades from the country.
"We will have completed our training and mentoring mission with the 4th Brigade. We will no longer be conducting routine frontline operations with the Afghan National Security Forces," reads a part of the speech that Ms Gillard will reportedly deliver before the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra on Tuesday noon.
"When this is complete, Australia's commitment in Afghanistan will look very different to that we have today," Ms Gillard will say in her speech.
The timetable for the withdrawal, media reports said, should be completed before the scheduled national elections in 2013 and the details of which will be presented by Ms Gillard when NATO member nations convene in Chicago on May.
"I will go to Chicago prepared for Australia to pay our fair share," part of the prime minister's speech said.
Australia's expected withdrawal from the Afghan War, according to Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, underscored the reality that the war has been lost.
Wilkie suggested that NATO, and Australia even, knew very well that the Afghan mission was a failed one and Diggers were still in the country for two main reasons: "One for the government to appear strong on national and two to support our alliance partner, the U.S."
According to ABC, while America and its allies will declare victory by next year's complete drawdown, it would not be surprising if Afghanistan disintegrates shortly after NATO forces leave.
"We can appear to win until the point we leave and then we've lost," the Tasmanian lawmaker was reported by ABC as saying on Tuesday.
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