The Defence Ministry and the Hungarian Armed Forces yesterday rejected accusations levelled by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at Hungarian troops serving in Afghanistan.
Key on Monday criticised the Hungarians for failing to go on patrol at night. He spoke after two New Zealand soldiers were killed and six others injured in clashes with Taliban rebels.
The rebels had entered territory assigned to New Zealand solders from neighbouring Baghlan province, where Hungary’s provincial reconstruction team is based.
“As far as I’m aware, the Hungarians don’t go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway – they might in Budapest,” Key said.
It is not the duty of the Hungarian reconstruction team to mop up pockets of Taliban resistance, as that is the task of US, German and Afghan combat units, the Defence Ministry said in response.
The reconstruction team’s job is to manage and co-ordinate development tasks in the province, which the Hungarian soldiers perform in an outstanding way, the ministry added.