20 Apr 2012

Bamyan transfer 80% complete, says Coleman

8:00 am on 20 April 2012

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the transfer of responsibility for the security of Afghanistan's Bamyan province back to Afghan forces is 80% complete.

Dr Coleman, who is in Afghanistan, has met with provincial governor Habiba Sarabi and visited the SAS-mentored Crisis Response Unit in Kabul.

New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team is scheduled to stay in Bamyan until 2014, but earlier this week Foreign Minister Murray McCully indicated it could be out by next year.

Dr Coleman says Mr Sarabi is anxious about the withdrawal of New Zealand forces, having had the team in Bamyan for so long.

But he says New Zealand aims to ensure that the Afghan forces can stand on their own two feet in Bamyan before the transition is declared complete.