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New Zealand prime minister comment angers Hungary officials

The Defence Ministry, the Hungarian Armed Forces and Hungary's top representative in New Zealand rejected accusations levelled by New Zealand prime minister John Key at Hungarian troops serving in Afghanistan.
Mr Key says the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team's (PRT) plan to extend its patrols beyond Bamyan province into neighbouring Baghlan - which is under the control of the Hungarian PRT - is because Hungary's troops aren't fulfilling their responsibilities there.
"As far as I'm aware, the Hungarians don't go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway - they might in Budapest," Mr Key said earlier this week.
His comments came after Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone, both 26, were shot dead by insurgents while responding to a firefight between Afghan security forces and the Taliban on Saturday.
Honorary Consul-General of Hungary Klára Szentirmay told the New Zealand Herald the two countries' troops have a good working relationship, and the two PRTs deal with how things work at a local level. "Maybe there's a gap there that needs to be addressed, but it'd be dealt with at that level and not by making snide remarks and inferring blame on Hungary for two New Zealanders' deaths," she said. "It's completely unhelpful because I'm sure there's very good reasons why Hungary doesn't [patrol at night]." Ms Szentirmay said the comments reflect more on Mr Key than on the relationship between New Zealand and Hungary.
Hungary's PRT has previously been criticised. A diplomatic cable, leaked in 2010, from US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry said the country "does little" to address security issues.
"They are not permitted to fire their weapons except in self-defence, do little more than patrol the main roads and undertake no counter-narcotics activities.
"When the security situation in northeastern Bamyan Province was threatened by Baghlan-based malefactors, it was the New Zealanders who had to cross into Baghlan to address the problem."
Source: http://www.3news.co.nz

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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