Defence minister won’t set timeline for Australian Aghanistan role

Australia’s defence minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, is refusing to put a timeline on the country’s commitment to Afghanistan.

Mr Fitzgibbon was in Townsville in north Queensland on Sunday to welcome home soldiers from the 5th Aviation regiment and talk up new defence equipment, including the MRH 90 helicopters.

He admits Australia’s role is taking a toll on defence personnel and equipment.

“No one really knows,” he said.

“The prime minister and I have both said on a number of occassions that we are committed to Afghanistan for the long term.

“We think its important not only for global security but Australia’s security – of course the drug trade coming out of Afghanistan funds terrorism right around the globe including in our own back yard.”