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New Zealand commitment in Afghanistan extended

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


12 March 2007
Media statement

New Zealand commitment in Afghanistan extended

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced that the New Zealand contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan is being extended for a further year to September 2008.

“This commitment includes:

- the 120 strong Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)

- two personnel to help train the Afghan National Army

- up to five officers to serve with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters

- four Police officers to help train the Afghan National Police

"In addition to these commitments, New Zealand will also again deploy a frigate to join the Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) in the Arabian Gulf. The frigate will join the MIO for just over a month in mid 2008 as an extension of a planned deployment to the South/South East Asia region.

"The government has also decided to respond positively to a request from the Canadian Government to contribute up to two health personnel to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. The New Zealanders will work alongside medical staff from Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

"Despite the progress that has been made in rebuilding the country to date, Afghanistan continues to require significant international assistance. The objective is to ensure that Afghanistan does not revert to being a failed state and again become a haven for terrorists,” Helen Clark said.

Defence Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand military personnel are making a difference in restoring stability to Afghanistan.

"New Zealand is one of more than thirty countries contributing military personnel and other assistance to prevent Afghanistan becoming a failed state. New Zealand's PRT is highly regarded by the Afghan Government and other members of the international mission," Phil Goff said.

"For the last three and a half years, the PRT based in Bamyan has helped to bring stability and facilitated development in the region, and is regarded as a model for others to follow. This extension of our deployment enables us to keep on making this valuable contribution,” Phil Goff said.


ENDS

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