LAVs heading to Afghanistan

Three of the army's light armoured vehicles and their crews are being sent to Afghanistan to support the Special Air Service (SAS) troops in operations there.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the deployment would be for as long as necessary.

"They will provide increased protected mobility for our personnel, particularly from improvised explosive devices. These are one of the greatest threats to coalition forces in Afghanistan," Dr Mapp said.

In early October Prime Minister John Key confirmed New Zealand SAS troops were in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The location of New Zealand's secretive SAS troops was revealed by Norway's defence chief, who said the New Zealanders were replacing their Norwegian equivalents.

The New Zealand Government had a policy not to publicly divulge their whereabouts.

The Norwegians had been involved in the arrest of several wanted insurgent leaders responsible for planning and running suicide attacks against targets in the Kabul region.

Insurgent activity has been increasing recently and another New Zealand military deployment in Afghanistan came under fire last month.

A patrol, comprising Hiluxes and Hummers, was returning from the northeastern area of Bamyan province, when it came under fire from insurgents armed with small arms and rocket propelled grenades.

New Zealand has about 140 defence force personnel running a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Bamyan.

A couple of the patrol's vehicles suffered minor damage but there were no injuries in the last exchange.

In June a home made bomb exploded in front of a New Zealand patrol. No one was injured.

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