Ten years since last New Zealander killed in action

The death of a soldier in Afghanistan today came just over 10 years after the previous New Zealand combat fatality, Private Leonard William Manning in East Timor in July 2000.

The Afghanistan fatality was New Zealand's first combat death there since its troops were deployed in 2003.

The soldier was killed and two others wounded when their patrol was attacked in Bamiyan Province in the east of Afghanistan. They were members of New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).

His was the first New Zealand combat death since Pte Manning, 24, was slain while on peacekeeping duties, shot in the head and shoulder while acting as a lead scout on a mission in hill country covered by thick vegetation.

Pte Manning was New Zealand's first combat casualty since the Vietnam War and the United Nation's first military casualty in East Timor.

He died when his small patrol, tracking a heavily armed militia gang, came under heavy gunfire.

Other New Zealanders pulled back and Pte Manning's mutilated body was not recovered until some hours later.

While five New Zealanders died on duty in East Timor, Pte Manning was the only death from enemy fire.

New Zealand suffered 37 fatalities in the Vietnam war, which ended in 1975.


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