Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic has recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan, stating that one of the biggest challenges facing the country is how to rebuild it after years of conflict.
Mr Husic was a member of a Federal Parliamentary delegation to Afghanistan, headed by former Speaker Harry Jenkins.
“I wanted to participate in this visit to Afghanistan to see with my own eyes the situation on the ground,” Mr Husic.
“I found the trip to be extraordinarily insightful and, what was noteworthy, was this was one of the first trips that started to build bridges between the Australian and Afghan Parliaments.
“Everyone’s well aware of the military, economic and political challenges facing Afghanistan. The quality of life and the day-to-day pressures there are completely different to here,” Mr Husic said.
“But many of the people we met also focused on the huge gains that have been made in areas such as education and health.
“For example, I’m particularly proud of the fact that we’ve seen a phenomenal increase in the number of girls now gaining access to education in Afghanistan.
“Under the Taliban regime, literally no girls were enrolled in school – now, nearly 3 million girls are getting an education.”
Mr Husic said there was almost “universal praise” for the assistance provided by Australian Defence personnel.
“While people understand that our military commitment’s winding down, there is huge demand for the focus to shift towards repairing communities and building the strength of the Afghan National Police.”
During the week-long visit to Kabul, Mr Husic met with Defence Minister Mr Bismillah Khan Mohammad, Agriculture Minister Mr Rahimi Mohammad Asif along with members of the Afghan Parliament, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Australian Defence Force and staff from the Australian Embassy and AusAID.
Mr Husic also had the opportunity to visit AusAID-supported programs delivering pre and post-natal infant care.
“I was also impressed with a tour of the Badam Bagh Demonstration Farm, which trains Afghan farmers to improve agricultural practices and use new technology.
“There’s also keen interest for cooperation between our countries to help Afghanistan make the most of its natural resources,” Mr Husic said.
The Australian Parliamentary Exchange Program aims to foster closer working relationships with other nations and grow our diplomatic and economic ties.