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Kiwi Troops leave for a white Christmas

30 November, 2005

Kiwi Troops leave for a white Christmas

The next rotation of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel bound for Afghanistan will leave Christchurch International Airport on Saturday 3 December.

The 94-strong contingent will be farewelled by the Minister of Defence, the Honourable Phil Goff. Based in Bamyan in central Afghanistan the Navy, Army and Air Force personnel will make up the seventh Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to deploy to the area. The PRT will face a number of challenges including the harsh Afghan winter. Major General Lou Gardiner, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand says NZDF personnel in Afghanistan can be proud of their contribution.

“The professionalism and expertise of our defence personnel has earned great respect for the contribution made towards achieving stability in Afghanistan,” said Major General Gardiner.

“Along with the other 18 missions NZDF personnel are deployed to around the world, New Zealand’s PRT in Bamyan has received high praise from both within Afghanistan, and from other countries,” he said. Major General Gardiner acknowledged that the situation in Afghanistan still poses a security challenge.

The VIP party farewelling the deployment will consist of: Hon. Phil Goff, Major General Lou Gardiner, and Colonel Sean Trengrove.

BACKGROUND

New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team The deployment of 94 NZDF personnel will replace the current New Zealand-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) of 122 located in the Bamyan Province of Afghanistan.

The New Zealand PRT plays an important role in restoring and maintaining stability in the Bamyan Province. The team assists the Afghan Government by promoting reconstruction in Bamyan and assessing civil, political and military reform efforts.

The team conduct liaison patrols throughout the province and interact with members of the community at all levels. 94 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel comprise the Provincial Reconstruction Team located in the Bamyan Region. Originally deployed in September 2003, the PRT has been extended through until September 2006.

The contingent is deploying on 03 December and will be the seventh rotation of personnel to the area, with each rotation serving for approximately six months. New Zealand continues to assist Afghanistan with the provision of personnel in the following areas:

Afghan National Army. The NZDF also provides two personnel to assist with the training and establishment of the Afghan National Army.

ISAF. Four NZDF officers currently serve with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which supports the Afghan Transitional Authority in the maintenance of security in Kabul and other areas of Afghanistan.

Coalition Headquarters. A further two NZDF personnel are deployed with the multinational force operational headquarters. One officer works in the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan in Kabul with the other officer working with the Coalition Joint Task Force in Bagram.

UNAMA. One NZDF Military Liaison Officer is deployed with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). This officer is playing a valuable role as a strategic interface between the multinational forces in Afghanistan and the Afghan authorities. New Zealand also provides two Police officers to assist the training of Afghan police officers in Bamyan. These officers will remain until the end of 2005.

New Zealand – Significant Operations The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has maintained a very high level of operational tempo over the past year. The NZDF has personnel deployed to numerous locations around the globe including: Antarctica, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Sudan and Afghanistan. As a small but professional, versatile and adaptable Defence Force, the NZDF stands ready to play its role in helping the Government respond to pressing regional and international security issues.

Total numbers deployed on overseas UN missions and other operations at present is 265 with a further 225 overseas involved in training or exercises. International and regional security trends indicate that the professional expertise of the NZDF will continue to be a vital requirement for supporting New Zealand’s credibility as a good international citizen through its support of the United Nations and the rule of international law.

ENDS

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