Australian troops ready to provide assistance during Afghanistan election: defence minister
Friday, September 17, 2021 2:01 AM

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CANBERRA, Sep. 17, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Australian defence personnel will provide security assistance in Afghanistan if required, to ensure its upcoming elections are conducted freely and fairly, the Australian government announced on Friday.

Afghanistan will hold its parliamentary elections on Saturday which are anticipated to be disrupted by the Taliban, Australia's newly-appointed defence minister Stephen Smith said.

Smith said security during the election will be primarily handled by the Afghanistan national army however Australian defence personnel will provide support if required.

"We are proceeding on the basis that the Taliban will try to disrupt the elections and we are essentially in a support position to provide assistance," Smith said in Perth on Friday.

"For the security arrangements and for the conduct of elections if required."

But according to Australian Associated Press, Smith said ultimately Australia wanted to intervene as little as possible to ensure the elections are full, free and fair.

"But the circumstances in which they take place are very difficult," he said.

Besides Australian defence force personnel, there are also diplomats and civilians on the ground in Afghanistan.

Smith said due to the circumstances in Afghanistan, all Australians in that country will be at some risk during the elections.

"There's always a high risk in Afghanistan. It's essentially a theater of war," he said.

"So there are risks to the Australian Defence Force personnel who are there and tragically in recent times we've seen too many casualties.

"There are also risk for our diplomats and civilians personnel who are there and at all times the security of our diplomats and civilian personnel is at the upper most in our minds."

 

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