New Zealand will end the deployment of security personnel to Afghanistan by May 2021, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday.
“After 20 years of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) presence in Afghanistan, it is now time to end our deployment,” Ms. Ardern said in a statement.
“The deployments to Afghanistan have been the longest in our history, and I would like to pay tribute to the 10 New Zealanders who lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as to the more than 3,500 personnel of the NZDF and other agencies, whose commitment to replace conflict with peace will always be remembered, ”she said.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta stressed that although the environment remains complex, the intra-Afghan peace process offers the country the best prospect for a lasting political solution.
“New Zealand’s decision to conclude its deployment to Afghanistan in 2021 has been discussed with our key partners, with whom we have worked closely for the past 20 years,” she said.
Defense Minister Peeni Henare noted that the current deployment includes six members of the NZDF – three at the National Academy of Afghan Army Officers, and three at NATO’s Resolute Support mission headquarters.