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NZ Service Personnel Returned from Afghanistan

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

28 March 2008

New Zealand Service Personnel Returned from Afghanistan

Six New Zealand Defence Force personnel from the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZ PRT) contingent in Afghanistan have returned to New Zealand on remand for trial by court martial for alleged drug use.

The six junior personnel are alleged to have used a Class B drug at the PRT base located in Bamyan Province.

The NZ Army Land Component Commander, Brigadier Dave Gawn said a thorough investigation into the allegations was conducted which had resulted in the six being remanded for court martial.

“There is no tolerance for the use of drugs by service personnel whether under instruction, training or on operations. Such behaviour undermines the security, stability and reconstruction achievements of the more than 1200 NZDF personnel who have served in Bamyan since 2003,” Brigadier Gawn said.

The six will be disciplined if they are found to have used drugs. Disciplinary action may result in a punishment being imposed pursuant to the Armed Forces Discipline Act, including a fine, a period in the Services Correction Facility or dismissal from the NZDF.

As the matter is sub judice, no further comment will be issued by NZDF concerning the individuals or specifics of the investigation.

The 107-strong NZ PRT is tasked with assisting in security and reconstruction in Bamyan Province.

The PRT has also completed a number of projects in Bamyan since it began in 2003, including;

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- Construction of the Bamyan Boys’ School, opened in 2006.

- Construction of five Police Stations including the Police District Headquarters in Bamyan.

- The repair, maintenance and building of various key bridges in order to maintain mobility in the area.

- Construction of a new ward at Bamyan Hospital.

- In the past year the completion of 20 village wells.

- In the past year the disposal of six tonnes of weapons, explosives and ammunition recovered during security patrols.

- Assists with distributing emergency humanitarian assistance, particularly during the harsh winter months.

ENDS

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