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NZ peacekeepers to join peacekeeping force

Embargoed until 12.30am, 26 December 2001 Media Statement

NZ peacekeepers to join peacekeeping force in Afghanistan


Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that New Zealand will join a multinational peacekeeping force in Afghanistan from early next year.

A contingent of around 25 New Zealand Defence Force personnel is being prepared to join a British force to be stationed with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul. The contingent will initially fly to London to link up with their British counterparts.

“The New Zealand peacekeepers will undergo training during the Christmas break before their scheduled departure for London by commercial aircraft on 30 December,” Helen Clark said.

“New Zealand will be one of 16 nations contributing to the multinational force approved by a unanimous resolution of the UN Security Council last week.

“New Zealand’s deployment of Defence Force personnel to the peacekeeping force demonstrates our commitment to help rebuild Afghanistan. The United Nations has recognised that the interim government needs support at this time.

“New Zealand’s initial commitment is for three months. We will make a further decision on the size and extent of any ongoing commitment early next year.

“The government has already announced the decision to make an RNZAF C130 Hercules available for the World Food Programme’s work in Afghanistan. The aircraft is scheduled to begin those duties in late February 2002.

“New Zealand Defence Force peacekeepers will work at the headquarters of the peacekeeping force in Kabul and provide an air load management group at an Afghanistan airport,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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