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Last week, investigative journalists Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager released Hit and Run, which claims that a 2010 raid organised and lead by the New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan resulted in the death of six civilians and the injury of 15. The book turns the spotlight back onto the deployment of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel to Afghanistan in 2001. Should NZDF personnel have been deployed?
Greens at Vic
The Greens at Vic wholeheartedly reject the notion that New Zealand had a necessary part to play as combatants in the illegitimate war in Afghanistan. Hager and Stephenson’s allegations showcase the sickening consequences of warfare motivated by racist imperialism and capitalist values. The Green Party is committed to nonviolence and by extension the Greens at Vic would support a full inquiry into the alleged war crimes and subsequent rejections of wrongdoing by NZDF personnel and government ministers.
— Kayden Briskie
Young Nats — Lower North Island
The Young Nats stand behind and support the decision to deploy NZDF personnel to Afghanistan.
The initial decision of 2001 was a non-partisan one, gaining support across Parliament, spearheaded by Labour and backed by National. This, preceded by a UN resolution supporting intervention in Afghanistan, provides the moral and legal justification for the NZDF deployment.
On the operational side, there are a list of successes achieved under the NZDF’s deployment. To name a few: 341 schools were built under NZ’s watch in Bamiyan (up from three under Taliban rule), 3000 police officers were trained, the first National Police Women’s committee was set up, health clinics were built across the province, and over 200 infrastructure projects were supported by New Zealand.
The Young Nats are proud of the work the NZDF have achieved in their deployment to Afghanistan and see this as a simple non-partisan issue. We’re proud to stand up and be counted.
— Sam Stead
The allegations outlined in Hit and Run around possible Afghan civilian deaths are highly concerning if proved true. An independent investigation is needed to provide some transparency. No one wants the allegations to be true.
However these claims need to be looked at, if for no other reason than to reassure the public that our SAS is not covering up civilian casualties. The statements from the NZDF on the civilian casualties since the book’s release contradict what they have said in the past. There is confusion and contradiction over the operation, which desperately needs to be cleared up by an independent investigator.
The NZDF are our highly professional defence force and when things go wrong, they should be held to the highest standard — even more than any other arm of government considering their armed role. Any indication of a cover-up is worrying and any credible claim of one should be investigated.
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