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SAS troops return from Afghanistan

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


22 November 2005
Media statement

SAS troops return from Afghanistan


Defence Minister Phil Goff welcomed home New Zealand Special Air Service personnel who returned from Afghanistan early this morning.

The SAS has concluded its third rotation undertaking reconnaissance and direct action missions. Around 50 personnel were involved in the six-month deployment.

"The SAS have played an important role in the multilateral engagement mandated by the United Nations Security Council to counter terrorism and to restore stability to Afghanistan," Mr Goff said.

"Their presence, together with other international forces, has been critical both to constrain the influence of Al Qaeda and Taliban elements and to allow nation-building and reconstruction to take place.

"New Zealand forces, both SAS and those serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan, have helped ensure a fair and credible democratic process for the first-ever elections to the Afghanistan Parliament, which took place in September.

"Our SAS personnel are regarded as being among the best in the field by other coalition forces. I thank them for their commitment and professionalism, of which New Zealand can be proud.

"I also acknowledge the families of those involved and the sacrifice they make in being separated from their loved ones," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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