Australia and Afghanistan mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, with a series of events showcasing our past and contemporary partnership.
Since relations were established on 30 March 1969, Australia has stood as a staunch friend in difficult times, assisting Afghanistan in the face of significant security threats.
Over 25,000 Australian service men and women have worked to support Afghanistan in its battle to eradicate the threat of international terrorism and extremism since 2001. We acknowledge the sacrifice of Australian, Afghan and Coalition military personnel, and civilians, during that time.
Based on a strong partnership with the Afghan Government, our development and humanitarian assistance seeks to reduce hardship experienced by Afghans as a result of conflict, including combatting violence against women and girls.
Australia congratulates the Afghan Government on its many achievements since 2001, including its efforts to successfully enrol millions of children into school.
Access to education has increased from 800,000 students to 9.2 million, 40% of which are girls.
We also commend the Afghan government on improvements in its economic management.
Australians are encouraged by the many efforts to bring a peaceful end to the long standing conflict, and in particular those led by the United States.
Through migration and exchanges, Australia and Afghanistan have also built strong links. The Afghan community in Australia continues to flourish and make valued contributions through sport, commerce, film, art and cuisine.
We look forward to continued progress toward peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.