Kiwi soldiers involved in Afghan rescue mission

By Kate Shuttleworth

British media incorrectly reported that a joint British and American-led operation on June 2 involved New Zealand SAS troops. Photo / Thinkstock
British media incorrectly reported that a joint British and American-led operation on June 2 involved New Zealand SAS troops. Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand troops helped rescue five Afghan police injured after a roadside bomb attack that killed another five police officers in the Bamyan province.

Two vehicles with 10 Afghan National Police (ANP) were travelling in Shikari Valley in the north-east of Bamiyan when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.

New Zealand troops who are based in the region as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) were part of a rescue effort.

The five injured Afghan police were airlifted by helicopter to Bagram, a United States base and hospital north of Kabul.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said New Zealand troops got to the scene first and secured the area.

He said Bamyan was a relatively stable area but the north-east has a higher threat level, which increases during spring and summer.

Mr Coleman extended his sympathies to the provincial governor of Bamiyan and the police chief for the loss of five lives at a time when the ANP in Bamiyan were taking more responsibility for security in the province.

In July last year transition was started from Bamyan, local governance and security were transferred back to Afghan control.

The PRT helped to boost the capacity of local police forces in Bamyan, training the ANP's provincial quick reaction force.

The PRT are due to end their work in Bamyan at the end of this year and will be withdrawn later in 2013.

- APNZ

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