WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The commander of NATO's operational forces visited New Zealand April 11-12 to meet with New Zealand government officals in order to discuss the mission in Afghanistan.
U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe, met with the Honourable Mr. John McKinnon, Secretary of Defence Force; the Honourable Dr. Wayne Mapp, Minister of Defence; Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, Chief of Defence Force; and the Honourable Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the capital to discuss their country's role in the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
"We wanted to come to one of the most important ISAF partners we have, which is contributing across the spectrum of operations in Afghanistan,” said Stavridis. "New Zealand is contributing a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the north in Bayman, training the Afghan Security Forces (ANSF), which is perhaps the most important we have, and contributing to the special operations' role”
New Zealand maintains a presence of 220 service members and civilians participating throughout the Afghanistan region.
"The kiwis are doing an outstanding job in Afghanistan and I wanted to come and say thank you and have a conversation with the senior security leadership and communicate to them how happy we are with the participation and good work that the kiwis are doing in Afghanistan,” said Stavridis.