Australia to keep hundreds in Afghanistan after ADF leaves

AUSTRALIA will keep 400 soldiers and workers in Afghanistan, even after the Australian Defence Force wraps up its work in the troubled country's Uruzgan province by the end of the year.

It will mark the further winding down of Australia's work in Afghanistan which has so far cost the lives of 40 ADF troops.

The personnel staying on through 2014 will provide instruction and advice to the British-led army academy for Afghan soldiers in Kabul.

Australia dedicated forces for Afghanistan in November 2011, following the World Trade Centre attack three months earlier.

This latest update from Defence Minister David Johnston includes reason for the 26,500 ADF troops who have now served in Afghanistan since 2002.

Almost 10 million students are now in school, up from 1.2 million in 2000.

Of those are three million girls, or about 40% of the total.

Mr Johnston said Australians "paid a high price" for its success.

"261 Australians have been wounded during our mission," he said.

"We have lost 40 of our best.

"We mourn them. Their families and friends mourn them.

"We continue to work with their families to support them on the road to recovery."

Mr Johnston said it was now time for the Afghanistan to "take the lead", backed by international support.

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