Will NZ stay on in Afghanistan?

May 4th, 2010 at 9:06 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The head of international forces in wants New Zealand troops to stay longer and Prime Minister John Key says he will consider the possibility.

General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, told New Zealand journalists in Kabul that progress in areas such as Bamiyan, where New Zealand has 140 personnel, was critical to securing peace.

The Government wants to phase out NZ’s presence in Afghanistan. The rotation for the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan is set to end in September and the 70 Special Air Service soldiers in Kabul are due to leave in March. …

“In places like Bamiyan, the work we’re doing, they don’t get the headlines because we don’t have as many suicide bombs going off or violence in the area, but that’s really where we are building the foundation of Afghanistan.

“Now we will eventually make progress like that everywhere in the country but it will take longer in areas where it is violent now.”

Mr Key said the PRT commitment was likely to roll over for another year and then start reducing with more civilians coming in.

“Over time the composition is going to change away from the military capability to a civilian capability and that’s the plan. That will be starting in 2011. And that’s part of the handing back of control, if you like, to the people of Afghanistan, so there will be a military capability, it might be around 50 people.”

Mr Key said the SAS’s commitment would be looked at. “The SAS preference would be to have a smaller contingent to stay for a bit longer.”

He said the SAS had recently had a big success uncovering a “tremendous” cache of weapons in Kabul including missiles and hand grenades.

However, he would not commit himself to allowing them to remain.

It’s a tough call to make. Any extensions increases the odds that NZ soldiers will be killed in the line of duty. However this is not a risk unique to Afghanistan – four NZ soldiers have died serving in East Timor.

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24 Responses to “Will NZ stay on in Afghanistan?”

  1. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    They’ll stay for now.
    What that would mean after car bombs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch I don’t know.

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  2. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with current events but 4 servicemen died on April 26 and 26.

    Outside the School of Armour is an M41 and next to it are three stones on which are ensrcibed the names of the Armoured Corps members who have dies in the service of their country. In 1984 when I joined there were two stones and we were half way down the second. By the time I transfered to another service there were two more added to it. Last I heard we were half way down the third.

    This is a corps that seldom deploys overseas and also one of the smaller corps.

    Its a dangerous business. Its only politically dangerous if they die overseas though isn’t it.

    This government, like all before it doesn’t give a crap about the lives of the servicemen except when having them die might make them look bad.

    BTW David you missed two deaths in that period.

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  3. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    Let them stay, all the troops from the reconstructionists to the SAS are well trained this is what they do . This is their job, not one person serving over there does not want to be there.

    Appease no one

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  4. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    They should stay, we must do our bit and be seen to be doing it.

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  5. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Just like Veit Nam Paul, every single person there is a volunteer.

    Phil Goff said his nephew died doing what he believed in so why should we be different this week because we have a National government instead of the the Labour one that put them there in the first place?

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  6. Richard Hurst (710 comments) says:

    “The head of international forces in Afghanistan wants New Zealand troops to stay longer..”

    Well of course he does. He also wants all the NATO country troops etc to stay longer. The last thing McChrystal or the US wants is to be left alone there paying all the costs in blood, money and manpower. NZ troops could be doing a below average job and he’d still ask for them to stay longer. As it is I’m sure their doing a better than average job but does that mean we have to keep them there? Not sure myself, I’ll leave that decision up to JK based on the official advise he gets and his own judgment. That’s why I voted for him.

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  7. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    This government, like all before it doesn’t give a crap about the lives of the servicemen except when having them die might make them look bad.

    With Murray on this and those who venture an opinion from the safety of their keyboard, armchair warrior.

    [DPF: Umm, Murray has served - unlike you I suspect]

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  8. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Joe
    You forget some of us have been in harms way and shot at for our country’s or our people, unless you have specificm info about people all you are doing is tarbrushing.
    The link is good though, thanks I’ll pass on the website as it looks good.

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  9. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    I’d like to see us continue to support the war in Afghanistan until a proper government is restored around the country and the nation is built. The last thing we want to see is the Taliban coming back into power. I think the SAS is doing a great job.

    Also a big thumbs up to John Key for going there himself. Good on him, an act of courage and one I fully support.

    Also let’s not be too cynical about this — Murray I’m talking to you especially. I’m sure the government does care about the people they send into harm’s way. I think John Key has shown that he cares and well done for doing so.

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  10. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Scott I am absolutly sure that the goernemtn cares primarily because when soldiers die in combat it is a poltical device for the opposition.

    When they die at home it is a poltical device for the goverment.

    I am cyncial from 6 generations of my families experience with New Zealand governments. You have not seen contempt untill you’ve seen the expression og David Langes face when you’re standing in a 100 man guard. He hated us so we just hated him right back.

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  11. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    Thanks for your reply Murray. I guess I would suggest as a general comment that excessive scepticism and cynicism is not good for either the nation or for the people involved.

    On a personal level unforgiveness means that we carry around excessive hurts and wounds which just fester on. That’s one of the reasons I’m a Christian — I do my best (with the grace of God) to forgive others that hurt me. Then I am free from bitterness and anger.

    On the society level, social order and harmony breaks down when we are excessively sceptical and cynical towards government. If we always believe the worst of them, then the organic nature of society begins to crumble. I believe one of the insights of Conservative theory is that we need to have a basic level of trust and goodwill towards our government and our nation. As New Zealanders we need a basic level of trust and goodwill towards the institutions of our nation. As a community we need shared values and expectations and responsibilities towards each other.

    Now like many, my trust and goodwill has been tested at times. The previous government for example was manifestly anti-Christian at times and put into place a range of laws that I believe are destroying our social fabric. However the nation is recovering and hopefully lessons have been learnt. One of the good things about democracy is that the government cannot govern without the consent of the people. So I am still hopeful about New Zealand.

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  12. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    It’s a tough call to make. Any extensions increases the odds that NZ soldiers will be killed in the line of duty.

    If the country cannot stomach soldiers being in danger in the line of duty, then they should not be deployed in the first place.

    What the country needs to do is back our soldiers while they do their job, and provide them the best training and equipment possible. I’m sick of seeing our defense forces being supplied with out of date and sub standard shit , then getting told to ship off and put their lives on the line to ‘show the flag’ and serve our country. The least we could do is give them the best equipment possible to back their training.

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  13. Pete George (21,803 comments) says:

    On the society level, social order and harmony breaks down when we are excessively sceptical and cynical towards government. If we always believe the worst of them, then the organic nature of society begins to crumble.

    Yes. And shouldn’t that also apply to views on different political parties, and on an inter-country level and also on an inter-religion level?

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  14. Robinson 666 (115 comments) says:

    If our soldiers are killed in combat while bringing freedom and democracy to Afghanistan, it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

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  15. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    Pull them out, they’ve done their job.

    Afghanistan has alway been, is, and always will be, a basket case.

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  16. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    [DPF: Umm, Murray has served - unlike you I suspect]

    Umm…, my point DPF was that Murray has served so he has the authority to comment on things military and I was agreeing with his remarks about the cynicism of the politicians.

    And that the only thing I could offer would be as, umm.., well, an armchair warrior so I’ll STFU.

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  17. Bryla (263 comments) says:

    Hang on a minute, haven’t we “won” in Afghanistan several times in the past 9 years? Don’t we have a local government of democratic warlords and drug-runners who value human rights, particularly those of women? I’ve been given to understand Afghanistan is now a giant picnic ground where children laugh and the sun shines all day long. Have I been lied to?

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  18. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    joe90 – I also thought you were saying the opposite of what you intended. Now that I know what you meant, I can re-read the original statement and get it. However, next time you may want to use clearer grammar e.g. “I’m with Murray on this one. As for those who venture an opinion from the safety of their keyboard – armchair warrior.”

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  19. joe90 (273 comments) says:

    My excuse Camryn, 5F2, the pre-fab where all the kids who weren’t doing so well were dumped.

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  20. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Scott to be a service person in New Zealand you have to accept two things, National don;t like you and Labour hate you.

    Seriously you do not soldier in New Zealand for the sake of personal gain or recognition. You accpet these things and you do you job without getting bitter and twisted about the lastest dump that the current government is taking all over you. I simply cannot tell you the number of times that a plotican, including PM’s have out right lied to the public about the military without one whimper of protest from the military because it does no good.

    However I’m not in unfiorm anymore and I’m not bound to shut up and do what I’m told. So I’ll do what I like.

    Ponder this, why would someone who is excessively cynical choose to serve in this sort of anti-military political environment?

    Ignore the parade of troll who will accuse everyone in unifrom of pyscosis (theres a lot less drug abuse in the army than amongst DPF tolls), do your own thinking.

    Bryla I concur with your direction, New Zealand must pull out of South Auckland IMEDIATELY!

    Lefties, never met a fight they were unwilling to run away from.

    Joe90 i don’t subsribe to the belief that only those who have served (or voted) get an opinion. I think DPF missed your direction. Either way its simply the degree of relvant knowledge that is the issue. The ill informed are welcome to speak, it highlights their ignorance for all to see. Witness Bryla.

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  21. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    New Zealand will have a diplomatic post and a civilian reconstruction aid presents in Afganistan after March 2011. plus a limited number of Special Air Service soldiers than are at present.. The small number of SAS will remain as part of the International Security Assistance Force. Untill Afganistan can control insurgent and violence in the area. If not New Zealand will then have to reevaluate its commitment with a higher number of Special Air Service soldiers being reinstated and the diplomatic post and civilian presents withdrawn.

    But I don’t see that happening quite that way… I see all NZ Special Air Service soldiers out by March then reinstated after the 2011 election depending on who is government.

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  22. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    WINZ shouldn’t be there in the first place… oh wait that’s not the headline…

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  23. Mr Nobody NZ (396 comments) says:

    According the the Associated Press its already been decided and announced by Key.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/international-30/1272936225112590.xml&storylist=international
    “New Zealand to extend troops stay in Afghanistan for another year

    5/3/2010, 5:40 p.m. PDT
    The Associated Press
    (AP) — WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the country will extend its troop commitment to Afghanistan for another year and then begin posting civilian development specialists to the war-torn nation.

    Key was speaking after making a three-day visit to Afghanistan where he held talks with President Hamid Karzai, the commander of international forces, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and visited New Zealand troops serving in the capital, Kabul, and in Bamiyan province.

    New Zealand’s 140-strong provincial reconstruction team of troops in Bamiyan had been expected to end their seven-year deployment in September, but Key says the posting will roll over for another year, then start reducing as civilian specialists are introduced.”

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  24. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    The civilians are coming. I feel safer already.

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