Australia To Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan Earlier Than Expected: Reports

Australia will pull out its more than 1,500 troops from Afghanistan ahead of schedule, according to reports citing upcoming remarks from the nation's prime minister.

This photo taken on February 27, 2012 shows Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard gesturing during a press conference following her victory in the Labor leadership challenge at Parliament House in Canberra. Gillard on February 27, 2012 refused to rule out punishing ministers who failed to back her in a bitter leadership ballot with Kevin Rudd as she mulls a cabinet reshuffle.

Australia will pull out its more than 1,500 troops from Afghanistan ahead of schedule, according to reports citing upcoming remarks from the nation's prime minister.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to detail Australia's expedited troop withdrawal strategy, as well as the nation's plans to continue to assist in Afghanistan, during a speech set to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday (11 p.m. ET Monday).

According to news outlets that have gotten highlights of her prepared remarks -- including The Australian and The Daily Telegraph -- Gillard will say, "When this is complete, Australia's commitment in Afghanistan will look very different to that we have today.

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"We will have completed our training and mentoring mission with the 4th Brigade. We will no longer be conducting routine frontline operations with the Afghan National Security Forces. The Australian-led Provincial will have completed its work, and the majority of our troops will have returned home," Gillard is expected to say.

While the exact timetables varied by source, several outlets reported that most all Australian troops should be out of Afghanistan by early 2014.

Australia has been among those nations who have contributed troops, supplies and other resources to the NATO-led military effort in Afghanistan, which began in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.