|Subject: East Timor gets NZ Defence
East Timor gets Defence priority
5:00AM Tuesday February 27, 2007
By <http://www.nzherald.co.nz/author/index.cfm?a_id=164>Audrey Young
New Zealand is likely to extend its commitment in Afghanistan but East Timor will be given priority for any increased deployment, says Defence Minister Phil Goff.
"We may need more people there rather than fewer people there in the immediate future," he told the Herald.
"We may give more priority to working locally before we'd give priority to putting additional forces in more distant places such as Afghanistan."
New Zealand has 150 troops serving in East Timor as part of an Australian-led combined taskforce.
Two youths have died in the past week after confrontations with Australian forces.
New Zealand has 108 soldiers in Bamiyan province in the Provincial Reconstruction Team and the deployment is committed until September.
Mr Goff said it was likely New Zealand would "roll over" the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Although the United States was publicly asking for all countries already involved in Afghanistan to step up their efforts, "we feel we are making a pretty proportionate effort there".
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