The latest rotation of Kiwi troops in the Afghan province of Bamiyan are arriving back in New Zealand a few weeks early because Defence Force aircraft are needed for the Rugby World Cup.
There are currently 140 soldiers deployed to Bamiyan as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).
A Defence Force spokesman said it needed to be prepared to support any emergencies such as a serious civil defence event during the Rugby World Cup.
It could also be called on to support any tasks required to ensure the tournament went ahead.
That required a number of aircraft to be available either in New Zealand or in the region, the spokesman said.
''For that purpose, the Bamiyan PRT rotation dates were moved by a small margin to ensure the required contingency aircraft will be available during the tournament.
''The careful management of the timing of tasks is a constant and routine practice used by air transport planners to ensure best efficiency, and to preserve the ability to deliver contingency response options required by the Government and other agencies.''
There had been no impact to the operation or effectiveness of the rotation or the handover process between contingents, the spokesman said.
The Defence Force manages a staggered swap of troops in and out of Bamiyan.
The 18th rotation since the PRT was first deployed in 2003 is packing up and is understood will start arriving back in New Zealand next week.
The rotation, now lead by Lieutenant Colonel Hugh McAslan, arrived in Afghanistan in April.
The Government has announced the PRT will be in Bamiyan until 2014.
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