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Labour must protect NZ troops in Afghanistan

Wayne Mapp MP
National Party Defence Spokesman

1 April 2008

Labour must protect NZ troops in Afghanistan

Labour must commit to ensuring the safety of our troops in Afghanistan, says National Party Defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

Dr Mapp says it is time to consider sending a small number of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the strife-torn country to help safeguard our Defence Force personnel.

“New Zealand Army personnel have been in Afghanistan for six-and-a-half years and will continue to assist in reconstruction and patrol activities for at least another year, if not longer.

“Joint Forces Commander General Rhys Jones is on record that Taleban activity in the traditionally peaceful Bamyan province has been increasing and that the rise in tension is noticeable.

“We saw vivid evidence of that with reports yesterday of an attack on a four vehicle patrol from the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team.

“Labour spent about $700 million purchasing 105 LAVs. Since then, up to 38 have been in storage at any given time and they have never been deployed.

“Knowing that our commitment to ensuring the stability, security and reconstruction of Afghanistan is likely to continue for some time, it is vital some long-term planning is given to the safety of our troops. Shipping a number of LAVs over to Afghanistan is one option that should be considered.”


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