The Government has said that it will make a decision on the future of New Zealand’s deployment in Afghanistan by September 30th. A decision on deployment in Iraq will be made by November. Thomas Coughlan reports.
This is effectively an extension of the mandate in Afghanistan, which was set to expire in the middle of this year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at her Monday afternoon post-cabinet press conference.
“We’ve gone for a three month extension rather than a one-year rollover so that we are able to make a number of related decisions over deployments in the middle east, so this will allow us a little extra time to consider further advice on Afghanistan in light of other deployment decisions,” Ardern said.
She said there were 11 people deployed as trainers in Afghanistan, and over 3500 New Zealanders had served in Afghanistan since troops were first deployed in 2001.
The decision on New Zealand’s deployment in Iraq is also looming and will need to be made by November, when the current mandate expires. There are currently 123 personnel stationed in Iraq as part of the 143 person strong deployment to the Defeat-ISIS Coalition.