Australia has formally pledged to remain in Afghanistan for another decade, warning that unless international commitment is maintained the country will unravel.
Speaking at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that if the world failed to ensure the embattled nation had a properly trained and equipped national security force, "we will see undone so much of the good work that has been done so far".
Australia has about 1500 troops deployed in a war most Australians oppose and which has killed 32 Diggers. A new rotating deployment of almost 900 troops was farewelled at the weekend. Most troops, whose main job is to mentor the Afghan National Army's 4th Brigade in Uruzgan province, are due to start pulling out in 2014.
But Prime Minister Julia Gillard said last month special forces, including SAS and commandos, were likely to remain for an undetermined time.
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Rudd told the conference that Australia - the largest non-Nato military contributor and one of the top 10 development partners - intended to be a long-term player.
"We recognise the critical importance of developing Afghanistan's private economy... of putting it on a sustainable basis for the future."
Australia saw its future as tied to the support needed to ensure the people of Afghanistan had a secure future through their own government.
"The key question 10 years on is to send a very clear message to the broader international community, and to those within Afghanistan who would do Afghanistan ill, that we in the international community are here in total solidarity," Rudd said.
"Not just for the next three years to 2014, but for the decade beyond 2014 as well in the critical task of nation building for the people of Afghanistan."
Rudd also said he regretted the absence of Pakistan, which boycotted the conference after Nato aircraft killed 24 of its border soldiers last month.