New Zealand announced on Friday it will increase its tiny military force in Afghanistan from 10 people to 13 following a request from NATO. The New Zealand troops are assigned to noncombat roles, working as mentors and support personnel at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. New Zealand has stationed troops in Afghanistan since 2001, mostly in reconstruction roles.
President Donald Trump this week outlined his strategy on Afghanistan, including getting tough on neighboring Pakistan. He alluded to sending more US troops to Afghanistan but didn’t say how many.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, asked by reporters if he was worried about following the strategy of an unpopular US president, said his nation was involved in Afghanistan long before President Trump turned up. “It’s all about New Zealand playing its part in a global effort to smother the sources of terrorism,” English said. New Zealand has committed to keeping a military presence in Afghanistan until at least next June.