New Zealand mentors to remain in Afghanistan until 2016

21 April 2015 (Last Updated April 21st, 2015 18:30)

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has extended the stay of its mentors and support staff at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in Afghanistan, until December 2016.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has extended the stay of its mentors and support staff at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in Afghanistan, until December 2016.

Since late 2013, the country has contributed five mentors and three support staff to the academy to assist in building the capacity of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Located in Qargha, on the western outskirts of Kabul, the ANAOA is led by the UK, and forms part of Nato's non-combat Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions until the end of 2016.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said: "Positive results have been achieved in the development of junior Afghan officers, and it is appropriate that New Zealand's contribution to this important activity be maintained for a stable and secure Afghanistan.

"International efforts in Afghanistan have evolved and now focus on supporting the Afghan state and its security forces."

"International efforts in Afghanistan have evolved and now focus on supporting the Afghan state and its security forces as they move towards self-reliance.

"Over this time New Zealand has remained determined to play its part alongside its international partners.

"The extension of New Zealand's commitment to the Officer Academy is complemented by ongoing funding and development assistance."

In addition to British and New Zealand mentors, the ANAOA is also supported by coalition partners from Australia, Denmark and Norway, to train the Afghan soldiers so as to enable them to assume larger instructional role, ensuring a stable future for Afghanistan.

The NZDF had been active in Afghanistan for more than a decade, with the last contingent, including the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan, withdrawing from the country in April 2013.