2 New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan

first_img Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Associated PressWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Two New Zealand soldiers were killed and another six wounded during a battle with insurgents in Afghanistan in an incident that has rocked New Zealand’s small defense community. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said it was part of a spring offensive.The two deaths Saturday mark a surge in violence in previously quiet Bamiyan province and bring New Zealand’s total number of fatalities in Afghanistan since the war began to seven. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Four benefits of having a wireless security system As the New Zealand soldiers attempted to secure the area, they were attacked by a second group of insurgents, Jones said. One of the soldiers died when insurgents hit his armored vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade while the second was killed by insurgent gunfire.Jones said about 17 insurgents escaped carrying several dead and wounded comrades. New Zealand forces captured one insurgent, who will be turned over to Afghan authorities, he added.Ahmadi said a total of two insurgents were captured, including the brother of the local Taliban commander.A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the Afghan and New Zealand deaths, saying it was part of a spring offensive by the local insurgency.Bamiyan has been one of the most stable areas in Afghanistan for most of the 10-year-old war, so much so that it was the first province that international forces turned over full security responsibility to Afghan forces last year.However, Jones said insurgents have been carrying out more sophisticated attacks in the region over the past month.In July, two roadside bombs killed several local police officers in one of the worst attacks in the province for years, raising fears that violence could spike when international forces completely withdraw from the area. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The New Zealand Defence Force said Sunday that the soldiers were killed near the town of Do Abe in central Bamiyan as they came to the aid of local security forces who were under attack. Four Afghan security officers died in the battle, Afghan authorities said.New Zealand has stationed about 150 soldiers in the largely peaceful Afghan province since 2003.“This is a reminder of the dangers our soldiers face,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told reporters Sunday. “These soldiers have paid the highest price, and my thoughts are with their family and friends.”Three of the wounded soldiers remained in a serious condition in a military hospital. The other three had moderate injuries.Lt. Gen Rhys Jones, the chief of the Defence Force, said Afghan forces locked in a battle with insurgents requested help from the New Zealand soldiers.A squad from Afghan intelligence services had received word about a large cache of explosives, weapons and ammunition in the area and were on their way to seize them Saturday when insurgents ambushed them, said Abdul Rahman Ahmadi, a spokesman for Bamiyan’s governor.After three hours of fighting, the Afghan forces radioed for assistance from the New Zealand soldiers. Four Afghan intelligence agents died and 10 more were wounded in the fighting, he said. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Jones said the two New Zealand soldiers killed Saturday will not be named until Monday to give their families time to grieve privately.Key said the latest deaths won’t alter New Zealand’s plan to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan at some point during 2013.___Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez contributed to this report from Kabul, Afghanistan.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   last_img