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Tonga's Second Contingent to Afghanistan makes safe return today

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9 December 2011. Arriving on Friday afternoon at the Fua'amotu International Airport, was a special charted flight of the New Zealand Air Force aircraft that has flown in from Australia, bringing home Tonga's second contingent to Afghanistan.

The contingent which left earlier in the year in April spent a six-week pre-deployment training in England before being deployed to Afghanistan in late June.

Led by Tonga Defence Services senior officers, Commander Sione Uaisele Fifita and accompanying officers Major Sione Lamipeti Mapakaitolo and Lietnant Noel Takau, the second contingent of 55 soldiers make it home for the Christmas break.

The Contigent was being greeted upon their arrival at the Airport by the Minister for Lands, Survey, Natural Resources & Environment, the Hon. Lord Ma'afu, the Commander of the Tonga Defence Services, Brigadier General Tau'aika 'Uta'atu and Lady Tu'ivakano, spouse of the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence.

Meanwhile, Tonga's peacekeeping operations and commitment to military deployment to Afghanistan will rotate for six-month periods for each contingent and is expected to review its deployment by December 2012.

Tonga's contribution of military personnel will support NATO's led Security Mission into Afghanistan by assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in exercising and extending its authority and influence across the country, paving the way for reconstruction and effective governance.


Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.   Contact: LCDR Solomone Savelio, Tonga Defence Services.


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