“This is a reminder of the dangers our soldiers face,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told reporters Sunday. “These soldiers have paid the highest price, and my thoughts are with their family and friends.”
One of the men was killed after an anti-tank rocket hit the armoured vehicle he was in, the other other man was on foot when he was hit by either gunfire or shrapnel. The two deaths Saturday bring New Zealand’s total number of fatalities in Afghanistan since the war began to seven.
In the meantime Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, told a media conference that a branch of the Afghan police, the NDS, was attempting to arrest an insurgent when it was ambushed yesterday morning (7pm last night NZST).
“We are deeply saddened by this loss and, on behalf of the entire New Zealand Defence Force, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, colleagues and friends of the personnel involved,” defence chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said.
New Zealand has stationed about 150 soldiers in the largely peaceful Afghan province since 2003.