Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull visits troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit his troops in the region and to asses his country`s military contribution, an official release on Tuesday said.

IANS| Last Updated: Apr 25, 2017, 09:26 AM IST
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull visits troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit his troops in the region and to asses his country`s military contribution, an official release on Tuesday said.

"The Prime Minister has marked Anzac (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day with a visit to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq," the Prime Minister`s office wrote on its Twitter account along with photographs of this trip, Efe news reported.

During his two-day visit, Turnbull met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad as well as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in Kabul.

Turnbull told Mattis that Australia will continue to work alongside the US, NATO and Afghanistan in encouraging security institutions in that country, said The Australian newspaper.

Turnbull`s visit comes shortly after the death of 138 soldiers as a result of a Taliban attack on April 21 at a military base in northern Afghanistan, one of the worst terrorism strikes on the country`s army.

Australia has deployed 270 members of its armed forces in Afghanistan for assistance and training tasks, and some 780 in Iraq and Syria to help collaborate in airstrikes.

Since 2002, 42 Australian soldiers have died in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.

"This trip was not just an occasion to celebrate Anzac Day with Australians (and New Zealanders) who are serving on the front lines, it was an invaluable opportunity to assess the progress of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan," Turnbull said in a statement.

Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday commemorate Anzac Day in remembrance of when the Allied troops landed in Gallipoli, Turkey, on April 25, 1915 during the First World War, where over 26,000 of their soldiers died in combat and many more were wounded.

Although the Gallipoli campaign was a failure, Australia and New Zealand consider it as an important moment in which both countries forged their true national spirit, uniting the entire population in the war effort.