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Kiwis depart for six month deployment to Afghanistan

8 September 2011

Media are invited to attend the farewell on Sunday 11 September of the next contingent of NZ Defence Force personnel to depart for a six month deployment to Afghanistan.

They will be farewelled by Chief of Army Major General Tim Keating and family and friends at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea.

The contingent, made up of approximately 70 personnel from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and supporting units, will be part of the nineteenth rotation to serve in the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZ PRT) in Bamyan Province. They will be led by Lieutenant Colonel Brett Wellington, Senior Military Advisor to the NZ PRT.

The contingent is looking forward to getting over to Afghanistan and continuing the Defence Force's contribution to supporting Bamyan as it progresses with transition, says LTCOL Wellington.

“Along with our partners in the NZ PRT we will continue to ensure that development and governance programmes are further developed, while maintaining security and assisting with improving the capabilities of the local Afghan Police Force.

"The mission will have its challenges, including the local culture, the climate and of course the threat from insurgents. I'm confident that our personnel are adequately trained and will work hard to get the job done. The training we have gone through as part of pre-deployment training is demanding and I'm confident our personnel are up to the challenge.”

A further 70 Defence Force personnel which will also make up the nineteenth rotation will depart later in September.

When: 7.30am, Sunday 11 September 2011. The departure time may change - you must register your attendance to be informed of any changes.

Where: Air Movements Terminal, Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea. Media will need photo ID and will be met at the main gate and escorted to the terminal.

ENDS

For further information contact Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.

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