Australia has been asked to send 150 troops and helicopter gunships back to southern Afghanistan.
Uruzgan province governor Mohammad Nazir made the appeal during a frank meeting with Australian ambassador Richard Feakes and his counterpart from the Netherlands.
The meeting was held last month after the provincial capital Tarin Kowt almost fell under Taliban control.
Speaking to the ABC, Mr Nazir said Australian personnel could provide invaluable support to Afghan forces.
“We don’t have a lot of stuff like helicopters to support by air strike.”
“It will help our army in the field, the air support is very important for our army.”
Australia has ‘shared enemies’ with Afghanistan: Governor
Forty-one Australian troops died in operations in and around Uruzgan before the decade-long mission ended in 2013.
Three hundred Australian personnel remain in Afghanistan, but mainly in Kabul, in training roles.
By some accounts, the Taliban controls more territory now than at any time since it was removed from power by the US military in 2001.
The militants’ big objective for 2016 is to capture a provincial capital.
On September 7, they came for Tarin Kowt.
Mr Nazir said the militants snuck into the city with the support of Afghan police.
By his estimation, more than 70 civilians were killed or injured during the fight.
“Fighting was going around the city and sometimes the bullets from many different guns were coming and hitting those civilians,” he said.
“They didn’t know, they were walking around and going to do daily work.”
Mr Nazir insists Australia still has a national interest in helping Afghan forces overcome the Taliban threat.
- The Taliban attacked Tarin Kowt in September
- 300 Australian soldiers remain in Afghanistan, but mainly in Kabul in training roles
- Uruzgan Governor Mohammad Nazir says Australian troops could provide invaluable support