New Zealand troops off to Afghanistan
Thursday January 27, 2005
The main body of 120 NZ Defence Force personnel leaves New Zealand for Afghanistan on Saturday January 29, 2005.
They have completed five weeks of pre-deployment training to prepare them not only for dealing with the social and political situations they may encounter, but also to be able to do their core jobs in what will be, on their arrival, an “extremely harsh” environment. It is expected to be snowing heavily, and the temperatures will be about –15 degrees C.
The deployment commander Group Captain John Duxfield has an extensive array of operational experience and most of his team members have been on missions in Timor Leste, Solomon Islands, or Bougainville, and many of the officers in the deployment have completed United Nations tours of duty to countries like Somalia and Lebanon.
Their first big challenge will be the weather. For the first few months the weather will limit their operations, but they will still be able to patrol, albeit using different roads. Some of the high passes will be closed due to heavy snow and avalanches.
Projects to be completed during their six-month rotation will range from engineering projects and school refurbishments, to conducting health programmes in surrounding villages.
Afghan parliamentary elections will be held at the end of April, and this NZ PRT will be involved in facilitating the elections.
New Zealand’s deployments in Afghanistan reflect our government’s support for stability and reconstruction there – and recognition that a failure to stabilise Afghanistan would have consequences for the global campaign against terrorism. These commitments are in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions, and our support for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Media wishing to attend the farewell will have access to VIPs, NZ Defence Force personnel and their families from 7:00 am to 8:00 am at Christchurch airport (Int. Departure Hall) on Saturday January 29, 2005.
The VIP party will consist of the Minister of Defence, Hon Mark Burton; Vice Chief of Defence Force, Air Vice Marshal David Bamfield; Commander of Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Lou Gardiner; and Commander 3 Land Force Group, Colonel Rhys Jones.
This page was last reviewed 29 September, 2011 and is current.