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Afghanistan Defence Deployment - Q&A

Afghanistan Defence Deployment - Questions & Answers

Under what international mandate will these further New Zealand contributions to Afghanistan be provided?

- The international mandate for the deployment of personnel in Afghanistan is based on Article 51 of the UN Charter and on the authority contained in various Security Council Resolutions (including Resolutions 1368 and 1373) adopted since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

What will the SAS be doing in Afghanistan?

- They will operate with other special forces in the international coalition. They will specialise in the planning and execution of long range reconnaissance and direct action missions within the borders of Afghanistan.

Why is New Zealand helping to train the Afghan National Army?

- Two NZDF non-commissioned officers have been working with British forces in providing command and leadership training to senior and junior non-commissioned officers of the Afghan National Army since June 2003.

- This deployment represents a long-term investment in the establishment of a multi-ethnic army, under the control of the central government.

What other deployments does New Zealand have in Afghanistan?

- New Zealand took over command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamian (200 km north west of Kabul) on 23 September 2003. The deployment has been extended for a further twelve months until September 2005.

- The PRT patrols in and around Bamian town, as well as mounting patrols in the more remote areas of Bamian province. Contact is maintained with key local figures such as the Bamian Governor and the Police Chief. The PRT provided support for the registration process for the Constitutional Loya Jirga that was held in Kabul in December 2003. It will also provide support for the elections planned for June 2004 as well as the implementation of the UN's Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programme in Bamian over the next few months.

- The PRT programme was initially developed in 2002, as a way to enable the Afghan Transitional Authority under President Karzai to expand its influence beyond Kabul. The focus is on enhancing the security environment and promoting the reconstruction effort.

- New Zealand also contributes four personnel to the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). On 13 October 2003, the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to extend the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force to allow it to support the Afghan Transitional Authority and its successors in the maintenance of security in areas of Afghanistan outside of Kabul and its environs.

What risks do New Zealand personnel face in Afghanistan?

- Security remains a concern throughout Afghanistan. The situation remains unstable, and the risk to all NZDF personnel is classified as High.

- The PRT has integrated force protection in the form of a small group of infantry soldiers, and all military personnel carry personal weapons. The Rules of Engagement allow for self-defence. Weapons will only be used by PRT personnel where all other options (including the deployment of local Afghanistan security forces) have proved ineffective.

- In the event that local force protection measures are not sufficient to ensure the safety of PRT personnel, then military land and air forces based near Kabul are available to respond.

What other assistance are we providing to Afghanistan?

- Since July 2001, New Zealand has contributed almost $5 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, focusing on water supply, emergency relief, and restoring the education system. NZAID has recently allocated an additional NZ$5 million for Afghanistan, with a priority focus on Bamian - refurbishment of Bamian University is one project that the PRT is currently working on. New Zealand remains committed to making an active and substantial contribution to reconstruction and development in Afghanistan.

What is the likely cost of the latest deployments to Afghanistan and the international campaign against terrorism?

- The indicative cost of the extension of the NZDF commitment to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamian for 12 months from September 2004 is approximately $25 million. The estimated costs of the contributions outlined in today's announcements is $17 million, excluding appropriations for the RNZAF Orion deployment, which will be more accurately costed prior to the 2005 budget.

What will the New Zealand frigate and the P3 crew do?

- The New Zealand frigate, Te Mana, will be re-deployed to the Gulf region as far west as the Horn of Africa as part of an international naval Task Group conducting operations against the Taleban and Al Qaeda. The Task Group monitors shipping activity in those areas and has a responsibility to gather intelligence, intercept and board ships, and, if necessary, identify and detain Al Qaeda and Taleban personnel. It is envisaged that Te Mana will be deployed from April to August 2004.

- The P-3 Orion aircraft and crew would be deployed to the same Maritime Interdiction Operation as the frigate for six months from July 2005, to carry out surveillance tasks.

How will command and control arrangements work?

- As with any offshore deployment, the New Zealand units will at all times be under the command of their senior officer. That officer will have the right to refuse any command which is outside the parameters of the deployment as authorised by the government.

What other countries are making contributions to the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan and the Gulf region?

- The following countries are contributors to Operation Enduring Freedom: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.


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