The Hon Sir John Kerr Governor-General of Australia Visits Afghanistan in 1975
2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Australia, and as part of this we commemorate the important milestones throughout these 50 years. One such milestone was the first official visit to Afghanistan by His Excellency the Honourable Sir John Kerr. The Hon John Kerr acted as the 18th Governor-General of Australia between 1974 and 1977, and his 1975 visit to Afghanistan was the first by any Head of State since Afghanistan’s President Mohammad Daoud assumed power in 1973. This landmark visit, in the spirit of cooperation between Australia and Afghanistan, saw Sir John Kerr meet with the President and Prime Minister, Mohammad Daoud and Deputy Prime Minister, Mohammad Hassan Sharaq. Discussions were also hosted by the Minister of Commerce, Deputy Foreign Minister, the Governors of Kabul and Balkh provinces, amongst others. John Kerr identified each of these meetings as an important opportunity to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries. The visit highlighted the contributions of Afghan students in Australia, shared experiences as agricultural nations, as well as many other mutually beneficial connections – each of these factors was seen as significant in nurturing the bilateral relationship. In light of his visit, Kerr had expressed his hopes for the further growth and development of the special relationship between Australia and Afghanistan. Australia has remained committed to the establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan, and in doing so has provided important assistance and expertise in the area which Kerr identified in 1974, such as dry land agriculture and drought management. Today, many decades later, as we join in celebrating the 50th year of that relationship, we can look back at all that has been achieved in recognising that dream of future cooperation which Kerr spoke of – and we can look forward to the coming years of cooperation.