New Zealand troops to remain in Afghanistan: PM
Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Monday that New Zealand troops would remain in Afghanistan until next year, despite the deaths of five soldiers so far this month.
Key was speaking at a press conference after a young medic became the first New Zealand woman soldier to die in Afghanistan when she and two male colleagues were killed by a roadside bomb Sunday.
The New Zealand Defence Force Monday named the three members of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team who died when their vehicle was blasted by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the northeast of Bamyan Province.
They were medic Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and infantry troops Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard Harris, 21.
All three were serving with the 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
The troops were traveling in the last vehicle in a convoy northwest of Do Abe on the road to Romero, when it was hit by the blast at about 9:20 a.m. Sunday Afghanistan time.
The remaining personnel in the patrol secured the location and waited for support, said an NZDF statement.
Their deaths followed those of two other members of the provincial reconstruction team in an insurgent attack on Aug. 4 and they bring the total number of New Zealand troops killed in Afghanistan to 10.