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NZDF involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom

NZDF involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom—an update


On 11 November 2002 the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Mark Burton, announced Cabinet’s decision to deploy a New Zealand Frigate and P3 Orion to join the OEF Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO), the ongoing international operations campaign against the Taleban and Al-Qaeda.

Joining the MIO was a response to the need for New Zealand to work closely with others globally to counter the continuing threat of international terrorism. This need was recognized in October 2001, when Parliament voted to offer New Zealand’s assistance, including Special Forces, as part of the international response to the 11 September terrorist attacks.

This Government recognizes that a long-term commitment is required from all members of the international community in order to destroy the terrorist networks responsible for attacks on the United States, Bali and elsewhere.

Operation ARIKI

The New Zealand Defence Force's (NZDF) contributions to OEF and the Kabul-based International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are collectively known as Operation ARIKI. ARIKI is made up of several component groups. They are:

Task Group (TG) SPEAK—the deployment of Liaison Officers to the Headquarters (HQ) United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) in Florida;

TG TIKI—the deployment of the NZ Frigate to the OEF MIO, deployed to the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz;

TG CRACKER—the contribution of NZDF Staff Officers to the US led Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF)-180 in Bagram, Afghanistan; and

TG STAND—the contribution of NZDF Staff Officers to ISAF in Kabul, currently German/Dutch led.

All components of Operation ARIKI fall under the command of the New Zealand Chief of Defence Force (CDF). Personnel deployed to ARIKI work to the CDF’s instructions, which stringently comply with the Government’s mandate. Operation ARIKI tasks are strictly defined by and limited to OEF or ISAF.

Fuller details are outlined below.

Task Group SPEAK

The NZDF currently has four liaison officers at HQ USCENTCOM in Tampa (along with coalition partners representing 46 other countries). These officers represent the NZ CDF and assist with coalition planning for OEF. These officers were deployed on the understanding and clear instructions that they will only be involved in, and will only have access to, OEF planning and information.

Task Group TIKI

The HMNZS Te Kaha was deployed to the Middle East in December 2002. This frigate has just been replaced by the HMNZS Te Mana, which will remain overseas until this commitment to Operation Enduring Freedom concludes in June 2003.

TG TIKI works under the operational control of the Canadian led OEF MIO Task Force, but remains under NZ national command.

The OEF MIO Task Force monitors shipping activity in the Gulf of Oman. The NZ Frigate is tasked with gathering intelligence, intercepting and boarding vessels, and, if necessary, identifying and detaining Al Qaeda and Taleban personnel. New Zealand’s Frigate is restricted to conducting operations in the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz.

Escort duties through the Straits of Hormuz are also part of the frigate’s tasking, but make up only a minority of the ship's employment. The majority is related to querying and boarding suspicious vessels in the Gulf of Oman in order to deter and prevent Al Qaeda and Taliban use of sea transport.

In addition to the Frigate, a number of shore-based support staff have been deployed to support the operation.

A NZDF Liaison Officer deployed to Bahrain in December 2002, and is working in the OEF MIO Coalition Coordination Centre within the Navy Component Command of USCENTCOM, known as NAVCENT. This officer has access only to OEF MIO planning and is physically restricted from entering any other part of the HQ where planning for other US operations may be taking place. This appointment provides the NZDF with access to a higher level of information about the OEF MIO campaign. This access enables timely support and advice to both the Frigate and CDF. Additionally two logistics personnel are based in the United Arab Emirates to facilitate logistics support to the Frigate.

These personnel will remain deployed to their roles in OEF MIO until the end of New Zealand’s national contribution in June 2003.

Additionally, an RNZAF P3 Orion is due to deploy for six months in April, to provide maritime surveillance support for MIO. The timing of this deployment is still under consideration, pending the finalising of basing arrangements.

The deployment of a C130 Hercules transport aircraft, scheduled for the middle of this year, is also dependent upon final basing arrangements. The C130, which could be deployed for up to three months, will be tasked to move coalition personnel and stores in and around Afghanistan. This is similar to the C130’s work in and around Afghanistan throughout 2002.


The USCENTCOM established HQ Coalition Joint Task Force 180 (HQ CJTF-180), which is located in Bagram. Its role is to command and control all coalition OEF operations in Afghanistan.

This operation functions under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1368 & 1373, which provide authority for members to participate with the Government of Afghanistan under Article 51 of the UN Charter. UNSC Resolution 1378 also applies, and provides for the establishment of a stable government in Afghanistan.

Ministers with Powers to Act approved up to four NZDF staff officers to be deployed to CJTF-180 for 12 months beginning 1 May 2002. Currently, three NZDF officers are deployed as staff officers in the HQ. Two work in the intelligence section and one in the operations section.


In addition to the OEF deployments, Operation ARIKI also includes a contribution to the UN ISAF. This NZDF contribution is known as TG STAND and represents one of only a small number of non-European countries within ISAF.

From February 2003, ISAF has been jointly led by Germany and the Netherlands. ISAF is separate to the US led OEF campaign. Its UN mandate is to ensure stability in Kabul and to assist the transitional Afghanistan Government. ISAF is located in Kabul and does not operate outside that city.

The NZDF has four staff officers with ISAF. Two work with HQ ISAF itself; one as a specialist de-mining adviser and the other as an infrastructure reconstruction adviser. The remaining two staff work with the subordinate HQ Kabul Multi-National Brigade. They are employed in planning, as well as personnel and administration functions.


Separate to the Operation ARIKI contributions, but still geographically related, is the NZDF contribution to the UN Mandated United Nations Monitoring and Verification Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). The NZDF has deployed 13 personnel to support the process of weapons inspections in Iraq. These personnel work in administrative and logistics support roles. Cabinet approval for this deployment expires in November 2004.

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