Australia's role in Afghanistan may last till 2020: Gillard

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Canberra (Australia), Oct.19 (ANI): Australia will remain in Afghanistan after its troops complete their training mission in 2014 and be engaged there "through this decade at least", Prime Minister Julia Gillard said today.

The Prime Minister, in a speech to launch federal parliament's debate on the deployment of troops to Afghanistan, also warned Australians to brace for more casualties and "hard days ahead".

The Australian quoted Gillard, as saying that there would still be a need for Australia to play a supporting role after it finishes training the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army in Oruzgan province, a task expected to be completed in 2014.

"The international community will remain engaged in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and Australia will remain engaged," she said.

She added: "There will still be a need for Australians in a supporting role. There will still be a role for training and other defence co-operation." (ANI)

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