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King welcomes extended Police role in Afghanistan

King welcomes extended Police role in Afghanistan
Police Minister Annette King has welcomed an extension until September 2007 of the NZ Police training and mentoring role in Bamyan province, Afghanistan.

"NZ Police are doing a great job, in difficult circumstances, training and mentoring Afghan police in Bamyan, and our police will be proud this role is to continue."

The extension of the police mission was confirmed today by Prime Minister Helen Clark as part of a wider commitment to extend New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to September next year. New Zealand also has a number of defence personnel in training and mentoring roles in Afghanistan, and is committed to supporting civilian-led projects, including building police stations, roads and bridges and assisting schools and health clinics.

Ms King says the first NZ Police deployment, consisting of two police, arrived in Afghanistan in May 2005. "The second contingent, in early December 2005, was the first to include a third member to take on the mentoring role of the Bamyan Chief of Police and senior staff, as well as to lead the training assistance provided at the Regional Police Training Centre in Bamyan."

Ms King says the NZ Police training advisors are building capability among local police trainers at the Regional Training Centre to deliver a range of police training courses to frontline police officers and commanders.

"There is also an emphasis on establishing democratic policing with a strong focus on developing understanding of human rights. NZ Police have also overseen the recruitment of a greater number of women into the Afghan National Police in Bamyan," she says.

"Next year NZ Police intend to build the capability of the Training Centre further, by introducing more specific crime investigation training into the curriculum, and by enabling training to be delivered in the field across the districts of Bamyan."

Ms King says she has spoken to NZ Police who have returned from assignment in Afghanistan. "I have been most impressed by their decriptions of what they have achieved in Bamyan. I have been even more impressed by their commitment and enthusiasm. They know that what they are doing is working well, and helping to restore and build a secure environment in Bamyan province."

ENDS

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