The Latest Ally Leaving Afghanistan

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 27 2012 @ 6:24pm

New Zealand just announced a withdrawal as quickly as possible. Though their contigent was small (less than 150 soldiers), their decision comes on the heels of similar announcements from France and South Korea. Since deploying to Afghanistan in 2001, ten Kiwi soldiers have been killed in the conflict, three in a roadside bomb attack last week. When the bodies of New Zealand's war dead are returned home, they are met with a traditional Maori war dance called a Haka:

Various actions are employed in the course of a [Haka], including facial contortions such as showing the whites of the eyes and the poking out of the tongue, and a wide variety of vigorous body actions such as slapping the hands against the body and stamping of the feet. As well as chanted words, a variety of cries and grunts are used. Haka may be understood as a kind of symphony in which the different parts of the body represent many instruments. The hands, arms, legs, feet, voice, eyes, tongue and the body as a whole combine to express courage, annoyance, joy or other feelings relevant to the purpose of the occasion.

New Zealand's military released a video of the funeral Haka performed for the three soldiers who were killed last week. It's a stirring scene: