Online: New Zealand Defense Minister, Phil Goff, has said New Zealand troops in Bamiyan are popular with local Hazaras.
He advised Robert Fisk — the famous New Zealand journalist who is currently writing a book about the war in the Middle East — to do some research in Bamiyan for his book.
“I would say Mr. Fisk should talk to the Hazara people whose civic leaders were executed in the marketplace, whose 2000-year-old cultural heritage, the Bamiyan statues of Buddha, were destroyed,” Goff said, referring to the massacres of Hazaras and the destruction of Buddha statues by Taliban.
“Talk to those people whether they want Kiwis [New Zealand troops] there — I have been there, i have heard what they say,” he explained the popularity of his troops among the Hazaras.
There are 140 troops from New Zealand, working with the Provincial Reconstruction Team to maintain security. They also assist Bamiyan Governor Habiba Sarabi, the first female Governor in the history of war-ravaged country, in development and administrative issues.
Unlike the highly protective foreign troops in the South of the country, the Kiwis in Bamiyan enjoy unparallelled security. They have even been known to indulge in wrestling matches with the locals.