27 September 2011
The eighteenth rotation of the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT), who have completed a five month deployment to Afghanistan returned home last night.
Cpl Simon Ritson shares a quiet moment with his partner Alexandra Hyndman on his return from Afghanistan with the rest of the Task Group Crib personnel (0110926_OH_K1001337_0006).
Approximately 70 personnel from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and supporting units were met by Commander Joint Forces Major General Dave Gawn, and family and friends at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea.
Senior Military Advisor to the NZ PRT, Lieutenant Colonel Hugh McAslan, said the contingent was fortunate to be deployed during a significant chapter in Bamyan’s history with the commencement of the transition process.
"The fact Bamyan was selected to be the first province in Afghanistan to hold a ceremony signifying the commencement of transition is in itself testimony to the combined efforts of the people of Bamyan and the NZ Defence Force’s efforts over the past eight years.
"It was certainly a privilege for us to be a part of an important stage in Bamyan’s history, and tops off what has been a challenging but enjoyable deployment.
"The deployment has also been significant in the fact that it saw the introduction of NZLAV to the NZPRT. The LAVs are providing us with a significant increase in capability and have provided our soldiers with a lot of confidence when out patrolling. It is a great capability that has well and truly proved its worth during this deployment.
"The team has maintained a high tempo throughout the deployment and should be proud of their achievements in helping to build the capacity of local security forces in Bamyan and maintaining a secure environment which has enabled development projects in the Province to continue."
The rest of the contingent returned to New Zealand last week.