New Zealand troops in Afghanistan will patrol a wider area outside the Bamiyan Province after two New Zealand soldiers were slain.
Lance Corporals Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer, both 26, were killed after a fierce three-minute gun fight in a village near Do Abe, in the north east of Bamiyan Province.
The Government has decided to allow troops to expand their patrol area to Baghlan Province, east of Bamiyan, which is used as a base for insurgents and is not currently patrolled at night. The area is currently monitored by a Hungarian PRT.
The attack occurred on Saturday around 7pm New Zealand time, after an Afghan police unit moved to arrest an insurgent in the area, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said.
Prime Minister John Key told TV ONE's Breakfast yesterday that it is a "much more serious situation up there in the north-east part of Bamiyan now" than it was when Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell died on patrol in Bamiyan in 2010.
Malone and Durrer were deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Provincial Reconstruction team in April 2012.
The families of the men both released statements at a press conference yesterday, expressing their loss and speaking of the commitment they had made to the armed forces.
The men's bodies are expected to be back in the country tomorrow.
Six other New Zealand soldiers were also wounded in the attack, and are recovering in hospital. Five of the men will be transferred to a hospital in Germany. The other man, who was reportedly shot in the neck, is in a critical condition and will need a care unit to move with him once he is stable.
The soldiers' deaths bring the total number of New Zealand troop fatalities in Afghanistan to seven.
Three soldiers died last year, including Private Kirifi Mila of the PRT and SAS soldiers Corporal Doug Grant and Lance Corporal Leon Smith. PRT Corporal Doug Hughes died in an incident in April this year.