15 Oct 2009

No more Australian troops for Afghanistan - Rudd

5:01 pm on 15 October 2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has played down the likelihood of his country's making a greater commitment in Afghanistan.

Britain has agreed to send an extra 500 troops, bringing its total force there to 9,500.

Mr Rudd says he has not spoken to Britain about its decision, and in any case Australia sent more troops only a few months ago.

"We are in the business of raising an Afghan national army brigade, we are training Afghan police and we are also engaged in capacity building with the Oruzgan provincial authority." Mr Rudd says.

"Once that mission is completed and we hand over our responsibility to that provincial authority, then of course Australia's mission will be concluded and our troops would come home."

Japan to can refuelling assistance

Meanwhile, Japan has told the United States it will end its naval refuelling mission next year.

Japan has been involved in the mission to fuel ships backing US forces in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001, but it will pull its two ships out of the Indian Ocean in January.

Tokyo says it is considering other ways in which it can contribute to the effort in Afghanistan.