This background note revises material previously released by the Parliamentary Library on Australia's involvement in Afghanistan.
In November 2010, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Government of Afghanistan agreed to a formal transition process that would transfer full security responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) by the end of 2014. This process commenced in early 2011.
At the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, NATO member states, the Government of Afghanistan and states contributing to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed their commitment to transitioning full security responsibility to ANSF by the end of 2014. At this time, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan is expected to transition from a combat role to a new mission with a training focus, which is expected to be supported by the United Nations Security Council. The delegation also agreed to gradually reducing the number of ANSF personnel (military and police) from a peak of 352 000 in October 2012 to 228 500 by 2014.
At the NATO Summit in Chicago, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that Australia’s main role of training and mentoring the ANSF in Uruzgan province would be completed by mid to late 2013.
During the Chicago Summit, Australia signed a long-term partnership agreement with the Government of Afghanistan that deals with combating terrorism, narcotics and people smuggling; post-2014 security support; development support and increased aid; business and investment; migration cooperation; and fostering cultural links.
In July 2012, formal transition to Afghan-led security responsibility commenced in Uruzgan province with the Prime Minister confirming that Australia’s role should be complete by mid to late 2013. Uruzgan was included in the third tranche of provinces to commence transition to Afghan control (The first tranche occurred on 22 March 2011 and the second on 27 November 2011).