18 Feb 2013

NZ commitment to Afghanistan extended

10:10 pm on 18 February 2013

New Zealand will continue to have a small military presence of 27 people in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of its Provincial Reconstruction Team.

The Cabinet on Monday agreed that the group of New Zealand Defence Force personnel will stay on until April 2014 during the time that international forces are preparing to withdraw.

The rest of New Zealand's team will leave Afghanistan in April this year as planned.

Prime Minister John Key says the Government believes it is in New Zealand's interests to continue helping to improve the security and prosperity of Afghanistan.

"We have invested a huge amount of resources and we've lost 10 very brave men and women there in the course of the last decade.

It's really important that we just don't walk away from Afghanistan and leave it isolated if we want to see the job done and Afghanistan to be able to get back on its feet and be self-governing and hopefully a safer society."

The Defence Force personnel will be deployed in several roles including at the Afghan National Officer Training Academy in Kabul and the International Security Assistance Force headquarters.