New Zealand troops to leave Afghanistan in April 2013
By Sadaf Shinwari - Mon Sep 03, 10:20 am
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman confirmed Cabinet have signed off on the date of withdrawal.
The April date had been hinted at by Prime Minister John Key following the deaths last month of five Kiwi soldiers in the north-eastern province of the war-torn country.
The Ministers said the announcement is the culmination of months of planning and is part of an orderly and sequenced International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) plan for transition.
New Zealand has stationed 145 soldiers in central Bamiyan province since 2003. The region was relatively peaceful until recently, when there was an uptick in violence.
The 35-strong SAS unit pulled out of Kabul in March, leaving the PRT in Bamiyan as the last of the Kiwi military contingent in the country.
Foreign Affiars Minister of New Zealand Murray McCully said New Zealand’s support to Afghanistan after the PRT’s withdrawal will likely include the contribution of a small number of NZDF trainers to the Afghanistan National Army Officer Training Academy later in 2013.