About We spurn US on new Iraq role
|December 8th, 2006||#1|
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We spurn US on new Iraq role info
We spurn US on new Iraq role
Patrick Walters and Geoff Elliott
December 08, 2006
AUSTRALIA has turned down a request from the Bush administration to "embed" Australian army troops with Iraqi units as the US-led coalition moves to recast its military presence in the war-torn country.
The outgoing US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, first raised the issue of increased Australian involvement in training Iraqi forces with Defence Minister Brendan Nelson several months ago.
The Pentagon's proposal would involve placing small numbers of Australian soldiers in Iraqi units in a training role to help lift their overall operational capability.
Australia's 750-strong military presence already includes several dozen personnel embedded in the US-led coalition headquarters but no troops formally assigned to Iraqi units.
Dr Nelson responded to Mr Rumsfeld's letter by saying Australia's defence force was heavily committed in East Timor and the South Pacific and also engaged ina long-term expansion of its own army.
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