Afghanistan and Australia on Monday signed a development cooperation deal worth $320 million during President Ashraf Ghani's historic visit to Canberra.
The memorandum of understanding was inked by Afghan Economy Minister Abdul Sattra Murad and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in the presence of Ghani and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
It covers four years until 2020 and follows pledges made during Brussels conference on Afghanistan which was held in October last year, according to a statement from Ghani’s office.
The two countries will cooperate on infrastructure, education and employment of women and girls, agriculture and water management, training of Afghan civil servants and fight against corruption, Western media reported.
Moreover, Geoscience Australia will work with the Afghan mines ministry to improve the management of energy, mineral and water resources.
The leaders also talked about security situation.
President Ghani said that countries should share their resources in countering the threat of terrorism and follow a clear strategy against the menace.
He said that his government has made remarkable achievements in the areas of law enforcement, freedom of speech, human rights especially of women and children, education and fight against corruption.
Australia has lost 41 troops in Afghanistan since 2001. Around 270 Australian troops are staying to train, assist and advise local forces after end of international combat mission in 2014. Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne has said that her country “cannot afford” to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, citing “security setbacks.”
Before meeting with Turnbull, Ghani laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.
This is first visit by an Afghan president to Australia.
The president also separately met with Australian Governor General Peter Consgrove and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.