Most Aussie troops to leave Afghanistan this year

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Associated Press

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 25 at 10:04 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Most Australian troops in Afghanistan will be home by the end of the year when the international military base at Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province closes.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Tuesday that at least 1,000 of the 1,550 Australian troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by the end of 2013.

The decision by the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force to draw down and close the base at Tarin Kowt was made after consultation with Australia and Afghan authorities.

Smith said it was in line with the timetable to transition to full Afghan-led security responsibility in Oruzgan by year's end.

The Australian military's main focus in Afghanistan is to train an Afghan National Army battalion to take responsibility for security in the province.

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