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Thu 14 Jan 2016 11:20 AM

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Australia rejects US request to boost ISIL military commitment

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter wrote to a coalition of about 40 countries asking for more assistance

Australia rejects US request to boost ISIL military commitment
(Getty Images)

Australia turned down a US request to boost its military commitment against ISIL in the Middle East.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter wrote to a coalition of about 40 countries, including Australia, seeking a bigger contribution, Defence Minister Marise Paynesaid in a statement Thursday. Carter has been advised that Australia’s “existing contributions will continue,” she said.

“Australia has considered the request” from Carter “in light of the substantial contributions we are already making to train Iraqi security forces and to the air campaign,” Payne said.

Australia, a key ally of the US, in 2014 deployed 400 air force personnel and 200 special forces soldiers based in Iraq to the Middle East to join President Barack Obama’s coalition against ISIL. A further 300 soldiers left in April 2015 to help train Iraqi troops based at Taji, northwest of Bahgdad.

Australia will add 10 more staff to the coalition headquarters and is considering boosting humanitarian support in Syria and Iraq, Payne said.

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