Modern Day Wars

East Timor

The New Zealand Defence Force at work in Dili, Timor Leste, leading up to and during the Presidential Elections 2007. Personel from 6 Platoon, Victor Company, 1Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment maintain a presence in Dili on polling day.

In September 1999 violence erupted in East Timor after an overwhelming majority of its people voted in favour of independence from Indonesia in a United Nations (UN) referendum. Pro-Indonesian militias wreaked havoc when the result became known, and more than a thousand people were killed.

The violence prompted an international outcry and the UN called for a multinational force to restore order and provide humanitarian assistance until a UN peacekeeping force could be organised. The resulting International Force East Timor (INTERFET) was led by Australia, with more than 5,000 Australian defence personnel involved. New Zealand was the second largest contributor, dispatching a battalion of light infantry troops, transport aircraft, helicopters and three navy ships. By October 1999 more than 1,100 New Zealanders were in East Timor, making it the country’s largest military deployment since the Korean War.

David Capie, ‘Peacekeeping – Bougainville and East Timor’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,

Roll of Honour East Timor

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On patrol in North East Bamyian with Kiwi Team One – New Zealand Defence Force

New Zealand forces fought in Afghanistan following the United States-led invasion of that country after the September 11 2001 attacks against the United States. NZSAS personnel were dispatched in late 2001, and in March 2002 they took part in Operation Anaconda against about 500 to 1000 al – Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountain Ranges. From April 2003 New Zealand also supplied two transport aircraft and the 122-strong tri-service NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT), which was located in Bamyan Province.

The NZPRT withdrew from Bamyan in April 2013, with a small New Zealand contingent remaining in Kabul. This contingent contributed personnel to Afghan National Army officer training and, in June 2019, the New Zealand Government decided to continue the involvement of New Zealand troops until June 2020.

In May 2021 the last NZ military personnel left Afghanistan.

Roll of Honour Afghanistan

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