New Zealand's time in Afghanistan
Mon, 20 Aug 2012 6:06p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Ten New Zealand soldiers have been killed while on service in Afghanistan, with the death toll doubling in the last fortnight.
Eight of the deaths involved attacks by insurgents, one was the result of a vehicle accident and one still remains unconfirmed but is not suspicious.
New Zealand's efforts in Afghanistan began under Helen Clark's Labour Government in 2001, as part of a global anti-terrorism response to the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Within days of the attack, Ms Clark offered the Special Air Service (SAS) to the United States to help their war on terror, citing that New Zealand had "no room for complacency".
New Zealand's first deployment of SAS soldiers touched down on Afghan soil in December 2001 as part of the United States' 'Enduring Freedom' operation.
Up to 65 members on six-month rotations stayed in the nation until 2005, but they were redeployed in 2009. They pulled out for good at the end of last year.
New Zealand has also provided assistance with soldiers taking over responsibility of the Bamiyan Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from the United States in 2003.
More than 200 personnel were deployed with the aim of improving security, training officials from the Afghan Government and initiating reconstruction in the country.
Around 150 members of the PRT remain in Afghanistan and will return home by the end of 2013.
New Zealand police also played a role in Afghanistan as part of a German-led project to train Afghan police. Members of New Zealand police were deployed there in 2009 and partnered with European police trainers. They remain there still.
New Zealand also has a National Support Element team based at Bagram Air Force base north of Kabul which provides logistics support to the PRT and other soldiers.
Other deployments of New Zealand military have included naval and air patrols in the area and on the Persian Gulf.
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