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NZDF on withdrawal from Afghanistan: ‘We were helping people … on the barbed wire fence

New Zealand soldiers say they had to drag people through sewers and barbed wire to protect Kabul.

NZDF personnel around Hamid Karzai International Airport.

NZDF personnel around Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Image: New Zealand Defense Force

Details of the operation released today by the Defense Forces have come to light, as people tried to flee the Afghan capital when the Taliban returned.

Members of the New Zealand military were at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport earlier this month to help evacuate New Zealanders, their families and visa holders.

He was deployed as part of the New Zealand Defense Force’s Operation Coca-Cola.

Sometimes they had to use a canal to reach the people who were sent to help, who guided them through large crowds.

The canal bank was controlled by coalition forces so that soldiers could use the banks as a tactic, often jumping into the water to help the evictees.

In one rescue, a woman in a wheelchair and her son were assisted by banks to get to safety.

Migrants were given a code word to identify them.

NZDF personnel around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul

Image: New Zealand Defense Force

In a media release, Capt. Nick Olney, senior national officer for the operation group, said the scenes were face-to-face.

“We were looking for needles in the haystack,” he said.

“We were helping people over the sewers, the barbed wire fences. I can’t describe the bravery on either side. The evacuation, in desperation, they will do anything to get into the airport. And on our side. , Our team pushed themselves to every physical and psychological level to take these people out and inside the wire and make them safe.

“Once we recognized them, we would start removing them, often during a cheap time where it was strategically acceptable. Started or violated. “

He said the team was tortured considering the conditions where they could physically reach and touch the people they wanted to help, but they could not get through.

“I can’t stress enough how difficult it was to bring these people by wire. It was the best effort to present the miracles in the time we had available.”

The 80 defense personnel on the mission are due to return to New Zealand in early September. On their return, they will experience organized isolation.

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