The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

Media Release

FA090 - 9 August 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Afghanistan

I have today announced the appointment of Brett Hackett as Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan.  Mr Hackett is expected to take up his appointment in September 2006.

Afghan-Australian relations can be traced back to the 1860s when Afghan cameleers came to Australia. For half a century, the cameleers played a crucial role in the exploration and development of the Australian outback, ferrying supplies across the continent. The Adelaide to Alice Springs train (now extended to Darwin), the Ghan, is named in their honour.

In 2002, Australia and Afghanistan re-established diplomatic representation after a long hiatus during the period of civil conflict in Afghanistan. Our decision now to appoint a resident Australian Ambassador to Kabul is a further important step in the growing engagement between our two countries.  The appointment also underlines Australia's firm commitment to international efforts supporting Afghanistan's transition to security and stability and to combatting terrorism.

Australia's post-September 2001 aid commitment to Afghanistan of $110 million has been fully disbursed.  At the London Conference in January 2006, I announced a further indicative commitment of up to $150 million over the next five years.  An Australian Reconstruction Task Force consisting of ADF reconstruction and security personnel will deploy in the second half of 2006 for up to two years as part of a Netherlands-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Oruzgan Province in southern Afghanistan.  These troops are in addition to the 190-strong Special Forces Task Group, deployed in September 2005 for a period of one year, and an aviation element of two Chinook helicopters plus support personnel deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year.

Mr Hackett is currently Director, Philippines and East Timor Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a position he has held since March 2005.  Prior to this Mr Hackett served as Deputy High Commissioner, Australian High Commission, Islamabad (2002-05). 

Mr Hackett has also held the positions of Deputy Director, India and South Asia Section (1998-2002), and First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Ottawa (1994-98).

Mr Hackett joined the public service in 1990.

Mr Hackett was born in 1963.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Queensland.  He speaks French.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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