NZ-led PRT to exit Bamyan next month
KABUL (PAN): New Zealand, scheduled to withdraw its Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) from central Bamyan province in April in line with the process of security transition to Afghan forces, on Monday reaffirmed its long-term commitment to Afghanistan.
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully renewed his pledge at a meeting with his visiting counterpart Dr Zalmai Rassoul in Wellington. They noted the PRT had achieved much during its 10-year deployment to Bamyan.
The foreign ministry in Kabul said the ministers agreed that the PRT had significantly contributed to international counter-terrorism efforts and improved security, development and governance in the province.
As the two sides acknowledged their shared losses in the pursuit of a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan, Rassoul expressed the profound gratitude of the Afghan people and government to McCully for New Zealand’s support and friendship over the past decade.
McCully promised his country would remain committed to Afghanistan and would continue to play its part in international efforts to support the country. He briefed Rassoul on New Zealand’s ongoing military commitment to Afghanistan, including trainers to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
The ministers also discussed New Zealand’s development programme in Bamyan, which would continue beyond the withdrawal of the PRT, and in line with the development priorities of the Afghan government. This includes a $20 million renewable energy project and the agriculture support project worth $3.7 million.
McCully noted New Zealand’s commitment of $2 million a year from 2015 to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) for rule of law projects in Bamyan, according to the statement.
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