Foreign Policy

New Zealand Will Not Send Elite Troops Back to Afghanistan

Combat troops from New Zealand's SAS will not be returning while a liaison officer will remain.

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Prime Minister John Key says an SAS liaison officer is likely to be sent into Afghanistan but the elite combat troops will not be dispatched.

About 35 Special Air Services troops based in the capital Kabul came home in March, but the issue of whether they would be sent back has been raised after two New Zealand soldiers were killed by insurgents at the weekend in the Bamiyan province where the 140-strong Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is deployed.

Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone were killed when they came under fire from a group of insurgents near Do Abe on Saturday night.

Six other New Zealand soldiers were wounded in the attack.

The two men's bodies will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow.

They left Afghanistan yesterday, following a moving farewell from their military colleagues.