Three more NZ soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Withdrawing our soldiers from service in Afghanistan is unlikely to be a quick process.
Three New Zealand soldiers, including a female, have been killed by a Taleban roadside bomb while serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
The three have been named as Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Corporal Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris.
Ms Baker, a medic, is the first female New Zealand soldier killed in combat since Vietnam, Defence Force chief Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones told a press conference.
Prime Minister John Key says there are two possible dates for withdrawal – April or September next year. But his and the cabinet’s preference is for the earlier departure.
“It’s really around the logistics of a number of things which are happening in terms of the way we work with our partners. It’s also a scaled transition so it’s not quite s straight forward as saying ‘everything happens on one date.’”
He said he was not sure if he could go into details just yet, but essentially the advice he has received from the coalition partner the government is working with is they have no flexibility in their operations and April looks to be the preferred date.
The three Kiwi soldiers killed by a Taleban bomb in Afghanistan have been named as Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Corporal Luke Tamatea and Private Richard Harris.
Ms Baker, a medic, is the first female New Zealand soldier killed in combat since Vietnam, Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones told a press conference.
Prime Minister John Key said at the briefing that New Zealand would stick to its plan to withdraw from Afghanistan during 2013.
A date has not yet been set. It would likely be early 2013, he says.
The government has confirmed the deaths of three more New Zealand soldiers, one reportedly a woman, serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister John Key says the three soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device hit a convoy in the north-east of Bamyan Province yesterday morning (local time).
“On behalf of New Zealanders, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the three deceased,” he said.
“This latest tragedy brings the total number of New Zealand soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan to 10.
"It also comes just two weeks after the deaths of Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, who died in an encounter with insurgents in Bamyan.
“Today’s events underscore the gravity of the situations New Zealand’s soldiers face daily in Afghanistan.
"The three brave soldiers paid the ultimate price for their selfless work, and my thoughts are with their families and friends as they mourn their loved ones.”