New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has announced that the last of her country’s troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn. New Zealand’s military has been in the country for 20 years, though currently only six personnel remain there. “After 20 years of a NZDF presence in Afghanistan, it is now time to conclude our deployment.” Arden said in a statement.
Since 2001, over three and a half thousand Kiwi soldiers have been in the country, ten of whom have died. Three of the only six that remain are working with the Afghanistan National Army Officer academy and the other three are deployed to the NATO Resolute Support Mission Headquarters.
The move comes just over two months for the deadline for America to withdraw from Afghanistan as set out in the 2020 peace agreement, the terms of which are that the US withdraws all its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban refraining from activities that ‘threaten the security of US or its allies’.
Defence Minister Peeni Henare referenced the peace agreement when justifying New Zealand’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. She said, “We looked at the Doha peace arrangement, what our allies were doing, and when we consider our current deployment there now, we felt that as a collective that it was time to end our deployment there.”
Henare recently highlighted New Zealand’s achievements in the country. She said, Together with our partners, New Zealand helped to establish the conditions for the current intra-Afghan peace process. We’ve supported regional security, and helped to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan, particularly in Bamyan Province.” She then went on to mention the help her country has given to the Afghan nation Army.