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NZ contribution to Afghanistan extended

10 April 2006 Media Statement

NZ contribution to Afghanistan extended

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that Cabinet has agreed to extend the deployment of the New Zealand Defence Force Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan for a further 12 months.

"The extension of the PRT will see it continue to provide valuable assistance in Bamyan province till 30 September 2007," Helen Clark said.

"New Zealand has a significant interest in a stable and secure Afghanistan. We have taken part in military operations in Afghanistan since December 2001. Our PRT, which is doing an outstanding job, has been in Bamyan province since Sept 2003.

"In October 2003 I saw the valuable contribution that NZDF personnel were making to efforts to improve security and rebuild services and infrastructure in war torn Afghanistan, when I visited Bamyan province and Kabul.

"Security is a fundamental building block in supporting Afghans to achieve long-term development. As well, New Zealand is contributing to the development of Afghanistan through NZAID.

"NZAID has already contributed over $20 million to June '06 in supporting infrastructure projects, human rights and governance reform, police training, sustainable rural livelihoods, community development and education programmes. NZAID has committed a further $15 million over the next three years. This will include a focus on maternal and child health care," Helen Clark said.


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