Australia concerned about troops’ safety following Musharraf’s resignation

August 19th, 2008 - 10:40 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 19 (IANS) Australia Tuesday expressed concern over the safety of its troops in Afghanistan following the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf and recent political developments in Pakistan.Musharraf, who was considered as a major ally in the fight against terrorism by the US and Australia, resigned Monday after moves from the coalition government to impeach him.

“We’ve got over 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, in Oruzgan Province, in areas abutting the Pakistan, Afghanistan border regions, so it has very important consequences for the safety of our troops there”, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told 2GB radio.

“What we now need to see from Pakistan is political stability, and that’s very important, because in the Pakistan, Afghanistan area, is where in our view the current hotbed of international terrorism is,” he said.

Smith has reiterated Australia’s willingness to provide Pakistan support and technical and developmental assistance to combat terrorism in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

“We’ve indicated to the Pakistani government that we’re very happy to render whatever assistance we can in terms of helping the Pakistan government meet the difficulties they face,” Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio’s AM programme.

“There is a range of expertise that we have, whether it is in the management of their parliamentary democracy, whether it is in the development of their systems of democracy or whether it is giving technical advice to the difficult way in which a modern armed force needs to combat terrorism,” he added.

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