Two killed and six Kiwi soldiers wounded in Taleban ambush. They were from the Provincial Reconstruction team, not the SAS who have returned home to New Zealand
Prime Minister John Key says the deaths of two NZ soldiers in Afghanistan will not change plans to withdraw the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) late next year.
The pair died after a battle in Bamiyan province, in which six other Kiwis soldiers were wounded.
Two Afghan members of the special police were also killed, and 11 injured in the firefight in the north-east of the region.
Speaking to media at the Defence Force base at Whenuapai, Key said the deaths of the two soldiers was a great tragedy for the country.
"It's a day of great tragedy where we lose two of our soldiers and obviously they join the other five before them," he said.
"For New Zealand, a small country, losing seven of our men is an enormous price to pay."
Key confirmed that the loss of life and injury toll was the worst for New Zealand since it went into Afghanistan - but said that was only in terms of physical numbers.
"Each and every one of the fatalities that we've suffered brings with it its own story, its own family and a huge sense of grief."
The tragedy would not affect the withdrawal date from Afghanistan, he said.
The Government announced in May that the PRT would leave the area late next year, one year earlier than the planned September 2014 return.
Key said: "I don't think the terrible loss we've suffered overnight means we should leave earlier. We should continue on track," he said.
Found some comments in the news interesting tonight. They could smuggle some of our tough SAS troops into our regular force Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. The SAS troopers have been pretty effective in training Afghani police and security force.