ISAF Statement on New Zealand’s Announcement That it Will Withdraw Its Forces Operating in Afghanistan in 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan–(ENEWSPF)–September 3, 2012 – The Government of New Zealand has announced that it will withdraw its forces operating the Bamiyan Provincial Reconstruction Team in April 2013. This decision, which had been under consideration for some time, is confirmation that the Bamiyan PRT accomplished its mission.

“Bamiyan was one of the Afghan provinces first designated for transition to Afghan security responsibility under Tranche 1, due in great part to the extraordinary contribution of New Zealand in improving development and security for the people of Bamiyan,” said Gen. John Allen, the commander of ISAF. “It’s been my distinct honor to visit the Bamiyan PRT and talk to Kiwi soldiers many times. They always raise my spirits for their ‘can do’ attitude and genuine commitment to mission accomplishment. The entire Coalition salutes them for a job very well done.”

This departure of New Zealand forces is part of the overall transition to ANSF as it assumes complete responsibility for security in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

As New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has made clear, the decision to close the Bamiyan PRT was not prompted by the recent deaths of New Zealand soldiers. He further reiterated that New Zealand will stay committed to a presence at ISAF headquarters and to supporting the Afghan security forces after 2014.