Final salute for fallen NZ soldiers

Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone. Photos / Supplied
Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone. Photos / Supplied

A military service for two New Zealand soldiers who died during an ambush in Afghanistan will be held at Burnham Military Camp this afternoon.

Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, both 26, were killed when their patrols went to the aid of ambushed Afghan police in Bamiyan province on Saturday night (NZT).

Another six New Zealanders were injured in the incident that the Taleban has claimed responsibility for.

Today's military service will start at 1pm and is expected to last two to three hours.

It's expected to include full ceremonial honours, including a military salute from the Funeral Firing party who will fire three volleys in to the air.

It will be attended by senior military officials, personnel from the 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles, and family members, while the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae has confirmed he will "speak on behalf of the nation''.

After the service the soldiers will be returned to their families for a private funeral.

In a controversial move, Prime Minister John Key will not attend the service, opting instead to watch his son Max play for the New Zealand under-17 baseball team in a tournament in America.

Mr Key has, however, visited the bereaved families to pay his respects and explain why he wouldn't be at the service.

In his place Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will represent the Government, while Labour leader David Shearer will also be there.

The New Zealand flag will be flown at half mast on all Government and public buildings today.

- APNZ

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