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Greens Leader Bob Brown today urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to make good on her promise to have an annual debate on Australia’s military commitment to the war in Afghanistan and, amid an increasingly ugly debate on asylum seekers, urged all sides to respect the right of people fleeing that war to seek asylum in this country.

“Australian soldiers should be brought home, without delay. As Professor Hugh White said this morning (Thurs), the government should consider that we might lose as many as another 40 Australians there over the next three years, Senator Brown said.

“Keeping Australian troops there for an extra three years - the Government’s self-imposed timeframe - will make very little difference to how the Afghan people settle their own affairs.”

“Driven out by persecution and violence, some 75% of asylum seekers arriving by boat between September 2008 and September 2010 were born in Afghanistan. How can it be moral for Australia, a nation engaged in the war in Afghanistan for more than a decade, to refuse to accept people fleeing that country.”

• Earlier on Tasmanian Times, Max Atkinson, Scott MacInnes analyses: HERE