22 January 2008
Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Afghanistan
I have confirmed the appointment of Mr Martin Quinn as Australia’s new Ambassador to Afghanistan. He will succeed Mr Brett Hackett who has been Ambassador since September 2006. Mr Quinn is expected to take up his appointment in March 2008.
Australia is making a substantial contribution to international efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and a major aid donor.
Australia has nearly 1000 troops based in Oruzgan Province in southern Afghanistan. Australian special forces are engaged in security operations, while Australian military engineers are rebuilding infrastructure such as schools, bridges, wells and hospitals in Oruzgan Province. Four Australian Federal Police officers have also been deployed to Afghanistan to improve the counter-narcotics and policing capacity of the Afghan Government.
Australia has also recently increased aid to Afghanistan, announcing in August 2007 an amount of $115 million over two years. This will bring our total aid commitment to $450 million since 2001. Our aid is helping to build the capacity of the Government of Afghanistan, to enhance education and health care opportunities for Afghans and to support the return and reintegration of Afghan refugees.
Mr Quinn is a career foreign service officer and is currently Counsellor (Political) at the Australian Embassy, Seoul. Mr Quinn has also served as First Secretary in Jakarta (1993-95) and Third Secretary in Bangkok (1987-91). In Canberra he has held a variety of foreign and trade policy positions. He helped prepare Australia’s first White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy (1996-97) and was a member of the AUSFTA negotiation and implementation team (2003-05). Mr Quinn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in history and government from Sydney University. He is married with four children.
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