KABUL: As the international community is in a dilemma on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan based on the US-Taliban peace deal, New Zealand, for one, has decided to wrap its military mission in Afghanistan by May 2021.
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta, and Minister of Defense Peeni Henare declared on Wednesday morning that the government would conclude “the deployment of the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) to Afghanistan by May 2021.”
“After 20 years of an NZDF presence in Afghanistan, it is now time to withdraw our deployment,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The prime minister underlined that the deployments to Afghanistan had been one of the longest in the country’s history. “I would like to acknowledge the 10 New Zealanders who have lost their lives in the line of duty and the more than 3,500 NZDF and other agency staff whose dedication to replacing conflict with peace will always be remembered.”
Nanaia Mahuta claimed that although the environment remained complicated, the intra-Afghan peace process offered Afghanistan the best prospect of a permanent diplomatic settlement.
Meanwhile, she emphasized that New Zealand will continue to support the Afghan government and its people in the years to come, including as they work within the intra-Afghan peace process to resolve the decades-long conflict.
The remarks came when the German government announced that it plans to continue its military presence in Afghanistan as the country believes the peace talks won’t be concluded by March.