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October 26 2012 6 26 /10 /October /2012 15:15

New Zealand to resettle Afghan interpreters

Mourners look on as the body of 28-year old Lt. Tim O'Donnell of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment prepares to leave Bamiyan airport  
New Zealand troops have been in Afghanistan for a decade - 10 of its soldiers have been killed.

New Zealand says it has offered to resettle 23 Afghan interpreters and their families who fear being targeted by the Taliban after troops leave.


Most of New Zealand's troops are based in central Bamiyan province and are due to withdraw in 2013.

Bamiyan was seen as a relatively secure region, but some translators reportedly received threats from the Taliban.

The fate of Afghan interpreters for coalition troops has been the subject of considerable scrutiny.


On Wednesday an Afghan interpreter who worked with British forces in southern Afghanistan won his fight to remain in the UK.


"Offering assistance to current interpreters employed by the government reflects the view that New Zealand should demonstrate a duty of care to this group," New Zealand's Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said in a statement

He said that they had played a crucial role during New Zealand's deployment in Afghanistan.


It is estimated that 23 translators and about 50 dependents will be able to move to New Zealand. It is unclear when this might come into effect.


New Zealand's 145-strong deployment in Afghanistan is set to withdraw in April 2013, six months earlier than planned.

New Zealand troops have been in Afghanistan for a decade and in this time 10 of its soldiers have been killed. Three were killed in an attack in Bamiyan in August.


All Western combat forces are set to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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