Monday, April 13, 2015

New Zealand Mandate

New Zealand Mandate Decision. The island country of New Zealand has been active in Afghanistan for more than a decade and they officially ended operations recently. New Zealand was one of the first nations to commit their SOF units - the New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS). I can remember them doing their 'long-range desert patrols' in desert mobility vehicles for six weeks at a time in western Afghanistan in 2002 - getting resupplied with ammo, water, and fuel by helicopter every few days. At that time the closest friendly forces were a Special Forces A-team (12-man detachment) in Zaranj and Herat and some conventional forces at Kanadahar. It was an austere environment during that period. The nearest MEDEVAC helicopter would come from Kandahar using CSAR birds - but only if an airborne refueler could meet the chopper on the return leg. Then, because medical care was limited at KAF, a seriously injured patient would be transloaded off the chopper onto a C-130 to fly to BAF where a surgical unit was located. Some NZSAS MEDEVACs took more than 14 hours. There was no "Golden Hour" back then. The New Zealanders were also very involved in governance and development projects including the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan province. At this time the Kiwis have some military personnel working at the Afghanistan National Army Training Academy in Kabul. The New Zealand government is expected to make a decision soon on whether to continue the Afghan mission. (Radio New Zealand, April 10, 2015).

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