Anzac Day 2017: PM Turnbull visits troops in Afghanistan
AS THOUSANDS gathered to commemorate Anzac Day at dawn services in Australia and around the world, Malcolm Turnbull made an unannounced visit to Australian troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The Prime Minister meeting and thanking Australian Defence Force mentors and force protection at Qargha, Afghanistan," the official account of his office tweeted early this morning.
Australia has 270 defence personnel deployed mostly in the capital Kabul, where they provide support and security along with some mentoring recruits at the Afghan National Military Academy.
Since 2002, 42 Australian troops have been killed in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.
During his visit on Sunday and Monday, Mr Turnbull paid tribute to their sacrifice.
"This trip was not just an occasion to celebrate Anzac Day with Australians (and New Zealanders) who are serving on the front lines, it was an invaluable opportunity to assess the progress of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan," the prime minister said in a statement.
"By confronting and defeating the terrorists on the battlefield, we are helping make the world - and Australia - a safer place."
Mr Turnbull also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in Baghdad and Afghan Ashraf President Ghani in Kabul during the trip.
He also held a meeting with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis, where he reiterated Australia's commitment to defeating terrorism and working alongside US, NATO and Afghan partners to build Afghanistan's security institutions.