9 Aug 2012

NZ troops can't extend patrols yet

7:55 am on 9 August 2012

New Zealand troops in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, cannot yet extend their patrols into neighbouring Baghlan to combat the threat of insurgents.

The Government has approved the plan but the Defence Force also has to get the agreement of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

The Cabinet approved the plan on Monday because the Defence Force believes a rising level of attacks in Bamiyan stems mainly from Baghlan province.

Radio New Zealand's political editor says it is coincidence that the paper was formally considered after the weekend attack in which two New Zealand soldiers were killed.

Opposition parties are worried about the plans.

The Green Party opposes the decision.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson Phil Goff says New Zealand troops should leave Bamiyan as soon as a transition plan can be worked out.