Obama to welcome Turnbull for talks on fighting IS
UNITED States President Barack Obama will roll out the welcome mat for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when the Australian leader arrives in Washington DC today.
Mr Turnbull arrived in the US this morning after a brief visit to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Mr Turnbull committed an extra 20 troops to Australia's contribution to international efforts training Afghan soldiers to take control of the nation's security.
Mr Turnbull also met with Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani, and Dr Ghani accepted his invitation to visit Australia later this year.
The Prime Minister also met troops, aid workers and protection officers at Qarga, the Afghan army officer training academy.
He told troops they were making a "real effort" to help Afghanistan "stand on its own two feet and maintain its own security".
The visit follows what some analysts have called one of the bloodiest years in Afghanistan, with the Taliban killing an estimated 16,000 soldiers and police.
Efforts in Afghanistan will take a back seat to the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Mr Turnbull's talks with President Obama.
Mr Turnbull is also
expected to promote his "innovation agenda" in speeches in the US, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is also high on the agenda.
America's State Department assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific
Affairs Danny Russel told ABC the trip was "tremendously significant".
He said President Obama offered Mr Turnbull accommodation at Blair House, a presidential guest house reserved for the most prestigious guests.
Mr Russel also told ABC meetings organised for Mr Turnbull with several Cabinet ministers was a sign of the "deep respect" that America held for Australia.
But the trip follows Australia's rejection of an American call last week for greater military contributions to the fight against IS.
While Mr Turnbull said in Iraq last week the situation could change, he also told troops in Afghanistan he did not want to Australia to be there "forever".