30 Jul 2010

Tonga Government says its military is becoming more involved in reconstruction

1:48 pm on 30 July 2010

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Feleti Sevele, says the country's soldiers are increasingly being used in reconstruction work.

Tonga this week agreed to a British request to send troops to Afghanistan.

Their role there will be to provide security at the Camp Bastion base in Helmand Province.

The deployment will mean the recruitment of more soldiers but Dr Sevele says an expanded Tonga Defence Service will not be a drain on the country, because it's being used in a number of productive ways.

"Not only for engagement of this nature but there's also been involvement for some of our units in construction for the aboriginal communities up in northern Australia, [and] involvement in rural and construction work here in Tonga."