The diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and New Zealand began in 2003, when the first Afghan Ambassador to Australia, Mr. Mahmoud Saikal presented his credentials to Hon. Silvia Cartwright the then Governor General of New Zealand on 7 May 2003. In return, New Zealand`s ambassador to Tehran Mr. Niels Holm presented his credentials as non-resident ambassador to Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan on 17 September 2003.
Prior to the establishment of bilateral relations, the New Zealand`s military contribution in Afghanistan commenced in 2001 under the NATO-led ‘War on Terror’. Totally, over 3,500 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel have been deployed in Afghanistan. This included New Zealand’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan province (2003-13), with a peak of around 140 personnel deployed. Ten soldiers lost their lives during this period.
Currently, there are 13 personnel in mentoring roles with the Afghan National Army within the NATO Resolute Support which is a non-combat mission focusing on train, advice and assistance of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF).
In the Asia Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand are two main allies of the United States and NATO, and the deepening and expanding of ties with these countries is essential for the future of Afghanistan.
In 2015, New Zealand acted as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and played a key role in fostering international support for Afghanistan. Subsequently, New Zealand renewed its commitments towards security and economic development in Afghanistan during the 2016 Warsaw Summit and Brussels Conference on Afghanistan.
Until December 2014, New Zealand had a small post in Kabul. Now, the diplomatic relationship with Afghanistan is managed from Iran as Afghanistan is placed in the Middle East and Africa Division of New Zeeland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at a formal ceremony held at the presidential palace accepted the diplomatic credentials of Mr. Eamonn O’Shaughnessy, the current non-resident ambassador of New Zealand to Afghanistan on 11 June 2015.
In September 2017, Mr. Wahidullah Waissi presented his credentials as Non-Resident Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Governor-General of New Zealand, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM, QSO. Mr. Waissi is the fifth non-resident Afghan ambassador for New Zealand. His credentials were presented in a special ceremony held in Wellington on 7th of September, at the Government House.
In his statement, H.E Mr. Waissi highlighted the further improvement of relationships between the two countries in the fields of security, agriculture and livestock development, foreign trade management, export growth, vocational training and public sector management – as well as effective use of technology to assist infant industry in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is the country of origin of the largest number of immigrants worldwide as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country. Nearly 15,000 of these migrants currently reside in New Zealand. Thus, residing thousands of Afghan refugees in New Zealand is another important factor in relations between the two countries.
Mr. Mohammad Yasin Hotaki, the first Afghan Honorary Consul to New Zealand received his Exequatur from New Zealand Government on 10 May 2018. He is resident in Auckland with consular jurisdiction throughout New Zealand.