Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

21 November 2009

Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to Afghanistan

Today I announce the appointment of Mr Paul Foley as Australia's Ambassador to Afghanistan. Mr Foley replaces Mr Martin Quinn who has been Ambassador since March 2008. Mr Foley is expected to take up his appointment in December 2009.

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.

Australia has committed 1,550 troops to Afghanistan, concentrated in Oruzgan Province. Australian Special Forces are engaged in security operations, while a Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force is working to build the capacity of the Afghan National Army to allow it to assume responsibility for providing security in the province.

Australia is also a major aid donor to Afghanistan, and has committed $250 million over three years in development assistance. Australia’s aid is helping to build the capacity of the Afghan Government and also focuses on education and health.

Australia is committed to Afghanistan for the long haul. Australia and the international community are, however, looking to the new Karzai Government to make significant progress on countering corruption, tackling the drugs trade, delivering services to the Afghan people and taking over greater responsibility for security.

Mr Foley is an experienced career diplomat and is currently seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was previously the Assistant Secretary for Counter-Terrorism and Assistant Secretary, Middle East and Africa Branch.

Mr Foley was Australian Ambassador to East Timor (2002-2004) and later returned to East Timor as adviser to the Stabilisation Force Commander during the 2006 intervention. He has also served overseas in Baghdad, Riyadh and Kingston.

He is a politics graduate from Monash University and also has a Graduate Diploma on Strategic Studies from the Joint Services Staff College. He has one daughter.


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