Prime Minister John Key has confirmed that the NZSAS deployment to Afghanistan will end as scheduled in March next year – a decision which has been foreshadowed for some time.
“The SAS has achieved the job they were sent to do with Kabul’s Crisis Response Unit (CRU), and they have done that job to the very highest of standards,” says Mr Key.
“Tragically, they have also paid the highest price, with two of the SAS’s fine soldiers losing their lives in the course of this work and I would, once again, like to pay tribute to Corporal Doug Grant and Lance Corporal Leon Smith who were killed in action.
“I deeply regret the loss of our soldiers but I do not regret our commitment to operations in Afghanistan.
“Thanks to the SAS’s efforts, the CRU is widely considered to be one of the best trained and most professional units operating in Afghanistan today.”
New Zealand remains committed to Bamyan province and completing the job begun in 2003. The Provincial Reconstruction Team continues its important work in building the security, governance and development capacity in Bamyan province.
“On behalf of the whole country I want to thank the SAS for their courage and professionalism over the two-and-half years they were in Afghanistan on this deployment.
“You made a difference. It’s time to come home.”