Defence Minister visits Kiwi troops in Bamyan

Wednesday 3 October 2012, 1:26PM
By Jonathan Coleman

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has been in Afghanistan over the past few days to visit the New Zealand Defence Force Provincial Reconstruction Team, as well as to hold talks with officials in Bamyan and Kabul.

“The visit was an opportunity to offer support to the PRT for the important work it has been performing in providing security to the Province,” said Dr Coleman.

“It was fitting to personally express the government’s condolences for the tragic loss of five soldiers that the departing rotation Crib 20 suffered and to thank the group for the on-going professionalism it continued to display.”

“I was also able to discuss New Zealand’s departure from Bamyan with the Provincial Governor and local security chiefs and to assess the work that needs to be done between now and April to ensure that the gains of the past decade are sustained in the long term.  New Zealand's decade in Bamyan will have made a massive difference in quality of life to the people there,” he said.

Dr Coleman visited New Zealand development projects in Bamyan including those in solar energy, agriculture, education and health. He also spent a day in Kabul where he met with Afghanistan’s newly appointed Defence Minister and held talks with senior ISAF commanders.