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DEFENCE: NZ's Afghan commitment extended and increased

Posted 7/7/2016

05 JULY: Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced that the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) commitment of trainers to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy has been extended to June 2018.

“Since late 2013 the NZDF has contributed eight personnel to the academy to assist in building the capacity of the Afghan National Army,” he stated. “In addition to the extension, Cabinet has agreed to a request for the number of personnel deployed to be increased to 10.”

“1,651 troops have graduated from the academy since October 2013,” Mr Brownlee said. “These young leaders are necessary for the development of an enduring, professional army.”

Led by the United Kingdom and situated just outside Kabul, the academy forms part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, which has the objective of training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces and institutions.

“NATO Ministers have made a decision to sustain the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016,” Mr Brownlee said. “This decision will allow New Zealand to stand alongside our partners in supporting stability in Afghanistan and countering the threat of international terrorism.”

Also on 5th July, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced that New Zealand will provide a further $2.8 million in funding for the Afghan National Police and the Central Prison Department, saying that Afghanistan continues to face a number of serious challenges around security and law and order.

“The Afghan police force is currently transitioning from being focused on counter-insurgency activities to taking on the role of a traditional civilian police force,” said Mr McCully. “We are joining with the international community to support this shift by providing additional funding for the Afghan National Police and the Central Prison Department.”

This latest round of funding will be delivered through the United Nations Development Programme and takes New Zealand’s total commitment to supporting the Afghan National Security Forces to $11.3 million.

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