New Zealand Police in Afghanistan (Operation Highlands)
Afghanistan - Operation Highlands
Inspector Geoff Gywn
|Map of Afghanistan
The first contingent of New Zealand police officers was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2005 to help rebuild and educate the local police service, as part of a German-led policing reform project.
The New Zealand Police unit is part of larger NATO-led Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan province, in central highlands of Afghanistan, hence the name 'Operation Highlands'.
Prior to international assistance, local police in Afghanistan received no formal training. A large proportion of the police force was illiterate and, in general, their skill level was very low.
NZ police are working as part of a country-wide police reform project led by the German government to:
- Instill professionalism into the police and turn the focus to combating drug cultivation, drug processing and drug trafficking
- Assist in the training of Police recruits
- Establish the Police Academy
Currently the New Zealand police are managing the Police Training Center in Bamyan Province. They are working to up-skill local trainers in all areas of general policing; improve their training techniques and ensure that all members of police adhere to the curriculum training standards developed by the US Police Training Project.
New Zealand Police is part of a multi-national group that includes police officers, advisors and contracted experts from the United States, England, Sweden, Finland, Korea and Japan to assist in police reform in Afghanistan.
The New Zealand Police are co-located with the New Zealand Defence Force's Provincial Reconstruction Team also based in Bamyan. Several Provincial Reconstruction Teams are currently located throughout Afghanistan.
- 11 September 2001 - Two commercial planes hijacked by Islamic militants fly into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in the United States.
- 7 October 2001 - The US-led 'Operation Enduring Freedom' commences in Afghanistan.
- September 2003 - The New Zealand Defence Force enters Bayman Province, in central Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led Provincial Reconstruction Team.
- March 2005 - Two New Zealand Police officers arrive in Bayman Province as part of a German-led police reform project. The NZ project is named 'Operation Highlands'.
- December 2005 - The deployment of three New Zealand officers arrive in Bayman Province.