WELLINGTON: New Zealand military personnel are to keep training Afghanistan’s armed forces until at least the end of next year, Defense Minister Gerry Brownlee announced Monday.
Previously the New Zealand Defense Force was committed to keeping five mentors and three support staff at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy until the end of last year.
The academy, led by Britain and situated just outside of Kabul, forms part of NATO’s non-combat Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions out to the end of 2016.
“Positive results have been achieved in the development of junior Afghan officers, and it is appropriate that New Zealand’s contribution to this important activity be maintained for a stable and secure Afghanistan,” Brownlee said in a statement.
“International efforts in Afghanistan have evolved and now focus on supporting the Afghan state and its security forces as they move towards self-reliance. Over this time New Zealand has remained determined to play its part alongside its international partners,” he said.
The extended commitment would be complemented by ongoing funding and development assistance. New Zealand troops left Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province, where they maintained a camp and ran the provincial reconstruction team for 10 years, in April 2013.
“New Zealand’s presence in Afghanistan, spanning both its 13- year-long participation in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and now its non-combat successor mission, Resolute Support, has demonstrated New Zealand’s commitment to international security and stability,” said Brownlee.DNA