The Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, has returned to Australia after visiting Australian troops in the Middle East region.

Senator Reynolds also met with senior military leaders from Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

"I underscored Australia’s contribution to Afghanistan’s long-term security and development, and reaffirmed Australia’s support for Afghanistan’s peace process and for the planned 28 September Presidential elections," Senator Reynolds said.

"It was a privilege to spend time with Australian troops deployed under Operation Highroad in Afghanistan, and to thank them for their service."

Senator Reynolds prepares to embark a United States Army Chinook during her visit to Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Corporal Dan Pinhorn

In Iraq, she met with Major General Najah Hasan Ali Al-Shammari, the Iraqi Minister for Defence, and Mohammad Al-Habousi, Speaker of the Council of Representatives, and discussed Australia’s efforts to support Iraq in defeating Daesh and assisting with the nation’s recovery.

She spoke with troops from combined Australia-New Zealand Task Group Taji and Special Operations Task Group 632, and commended them for their efforts in training more than 44,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Senator Reynolds with the Iraqi Minister of Defence, Major General Najah Ali Al-Shammari during an engagement at the Ministry of Defence in Baghdad. Photo: Corporal Chris Beerens

Finally, she met with senior military leaders in the United Arab Emirates to reaffirm the friendship it has with Australia.

"Australia and the United Arab Emirates share common interests and cooperate on security challenges, including our commitment to international efforts to counter Daesh," Senator Reynolds said.

Senator Reynolds speaks with Australian Defence personnel at Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East Region. Photo: Corporal Dan Pinhorn