New Zealand ends Afghan combat mission in April 2013
By Mirwais Adeel - Mon Feb 18 2013, 8:45 am
New Zealand prime minister John Key announced that 27 New Zealand troops will stay on in Afghanistan for about a year following the withdrawal of the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team in April this year.
Cabinet today agreed on New Zealand’s contribution to Afghanistan beyond the April withdrawal of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from Bamyan province, in line with the joint ISAF/Afghan transition plan.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman say New Zealand will continue to make a small but proportionate military commitment to the international mission in Afghanistan from May 2013, and that we remain committed to international efforts to improve the security and prosperity of Afghanistan.
Nearly 200 personnel are serving in Afghanistan, but New Zealand’s contribution to peace keeping will end in April. However, the on-going commitment included three NZ SAS personnel in “planning and logistics” roles.
New Zealand will also continue to provide development assistance to Bamyan province after the withdrawal of the PRT. The New Zealand Embassy in Kabul is expected to close before the end of 2014.
The Nato Isaf presence is expected to remain in Afghanistan until December next year but Mr Key said that timetable and the term of New Zealand’s on-going commitment could change depending on events.