Day of commemoration for Afghanistan and Middle East troops

A NATIONAL day of commemoration will be held on March 21 next year to recognise and commemorate the contribution and sacrifice of Australian troops who served in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said planning was already underway towards commemorative activities across the country.

"As a nation it is important that we stop to acknowledge and honour those that have served and sacrificed for their fellow Australians and for the Afghan people," he said.

"Those who serve must know that their country will not ask them to bear the emotional wounds of war alone."

Australia's mission in Afghanistan has come at a heavy human cost with 40 Australian soldiers paying the ultimate sacrifice and more than 260 personnel wounded.