Government rejects army training report

Last updated 14:30 16/02/2013
NZ in Bamiyan
New Zealand troops patrol the Kahmard District.

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Criticism of the training given to the army contingent which lost five members in Afghanistan is being rejected by Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

He made the comments after an evaluation report, critical of the pre-deployment training of the Crib 20 rotation to Bamiyan, was leaked.

The report was one of 23 evaluations carried out during pre-deployment training which contributed to a final training report, Coleman said.

"There was nothing unusual or different about this process, which has been applied on all rotations to help achieve the highest standards.  I have been assured by the NZDF (New Zealand Defence Force) that any gaps identified were addressed before the Crib took operational responsibility."

The five soldiers from the deployment who died in Afghanistan were killed in two insurgent incidents.

Coleman said the Government was waiting for the results of NZDF evaluations of those incidents.

"The Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan is well trained and achieves excellent results in a difficult operating environment."

Coleman also also sought to rule out suggestions cost cutting could have compromised troop safety.

"NZ efforts in Afghanistan have been well funded," he said.

The New Zealand Herald reported the leaked report, written by a sergeant in military intelligence, found problems in command, logistics and planning, and also criticised the attitudes of commanders and lower ranks.

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