NZ Defence Force to conclude 20-year deployment to Afghanistan by May

Tanya Simon
February 18, 2021

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday accused Australia of abdicating its responsibilities by "unilaterally" cancelling the citizenship of a woman detained in Turkey and accused of having links to the Islamic State.

"Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population", says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"It is wrong that New Zealand should shoulder the responsibility for a situation involving a woman who has not lived in New Zealand since she was six, has resided in Australia since that time, has her family in Australia and left for Syria from Australia on her Australian passport", Ardern said in a statement.

"The deployments to Afghanistan have been one of the longest running in our history, and I wish to acknowledge the 10 New Zealanders who lost their lives in the line of duty, and the more than 3500 NZDF and other agency personnel, whose commitment to replace conflict with peace will always be remembered", Ardern said.

Her pregnancy and maternity leave while in office in 2018 was hailed as symbolising progress for women leaders.

"New Zealand, frankly, is exhausted of having Australia exporting its problems", Ardern said.

The New Zealand Defence Force will conclude its 20-year deployment to Afghanistan by May. There is significant immigration between the two southern hemisphere countries and dual citizenship is not uncommon. "I think all Australians would agree with that", said Morrison. "But now there are two children involved".

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"You can imagine my response", Ardern said today at parliament about when she learned of what Morrison had done.

Ardern says feedback from the students was that period products should be made available for all who need them, when they need them.

"I will finally add: If the shoe were on the other foot, we would take responsibility, that would be the right thing to do". "And it's my job as the Australian prime minister to put Australia's national security interests first".

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand will continue to support the Afghan government as they work through the intra-Afghan peace process.

Australian legislation to automatically cancel citizenship for dual nationals determined to have engaged in terrorism has been used against at least 17 people who reportedly joined IS.

"Australia's interest here is that we do not want to see terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations enjoying privileges of citizenship", he said.

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