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New Zealand Military Mission in Bamyan ends

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BAMYAN – New Zealand, ending its decade-long military mission, has promised to continue supporting Afghanistan well beyond the withdrawal of its troops. Visiting Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman held out the assurance at a joint press conference with Bamyan Governor Habiba Sarabi here late on Thursday.

He announced New Zealand’s decision on offering asylum to the 30 Afghan civilians who worked as interpreters with troops in central Bamyan province. At a ceremony on their base, the New Zealand flag was lowered for the final time. Most of the soldiers are scheduled to return home later in the month but 27 will stay in Afghanistan as part of NATO mission

The decade-long deployment has cost 10 Kiwi soldiers’ lives, with Coleman noting the Provincial Reconstruction Team’s contribution to Bamyan’s security and development. Mohammad Asif, deputy governor of Bamyan, said Afghanistan would need continued foreign development assistance even after the pullout of international forces. He told Pajhwok Afghan News the current security situation in Bamyan itself was satisfactory. But there might be security threats from neighbouring provinces, including Baghlan, Parwan and Wardak. (PAN)

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