Today I announce the appointment of Ms Nicola Gordon-Smith as Australia’s next Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Australia’s relationship with Afghanistan is based on our shared commitment to improve security and the lives of the Afghan people. Australia has provided more than $1.3 billion in development assistance to Afghanistan since 2001, including to promote economic growth, support more effective and accountable governance, and empower women and girls.

Australian Defence Force personnel make an important contribution to the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. We have also committed to provide US$100 million annually to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces until 2020. We are committed to ensuring that Afghanistan does not again become a haven for terrorists.

Ms Gordon-Smith is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Consular Policy Branch. In Canberra she has held a range of positions, including Chief of Staff to the Trade Minister, and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister. She has twice served overseas at the Australian Embassy in Brussels, most recently as Deputy Head of Mission. Ms Gordon-Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the Australian National University.

I thank outgoing Ambassador Richard Feakes for his contribution to advancing Australia’s interests and strengthening our vital bilateral relationship with Afghanistan since mid-2016.

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