4 Aug 2010

Tonga NGO condemns decision to send troops to Afghanistan

7:56 pm on 4 August 2010

A Tonga NGO has condemned parliament's decision to send troops to Afghanistan.

The decision followed a request by the British government for Tonga to deploy soldiiers to its Camp Bastion base in Helmand Province, with the first contingent of 55 to arrive in November.

The UK is to pay for the costs involved in the deployment, which necessitates the recruitment of more soldiers.

The president of the Tongan Women's National Congress, Mele Amanaki, says employing more soldiers will be too costly and the deployment too dangerous.

"And to send our sons and daughters out there, it's like sending them to their graves. And not only that, Tonga is going through a financial crisis. There are a lot of things here in Tonga that the government should cater for before looking outwards."

Mele Amanaki says if it's income that the government wants, it would be better training people to become teachers or seafarers.