Incriminating report about the raids on Afghanistan led by New Zealand special forces has revealed an Afghan child was among at least eight people killed in the operation and that the Defense Force misled senior leaders and ministers about the incident.
At least seven people were killed in the SAS attack, and the investigation did not confirm anyone who was a rebel. Two men have a possible relationship with the rebel group and the investigation refuses to decide whether the other two men are rebels. Three more were later considered by intelligence to be rebels but the investigation found there was not enough evidence.
However, all were killed with “justification”, the report found, and only one of them was shot dead by a SAS soldier.
The findings released by the government are the result of an independent investigation into allegations made by two journalists about “Operation Burnham”, an attack that took place on August 21-22, 2010 in the Tirgiran Valley, Afghanistan. Helicopter-supported operations are carried out by NZSAS forces and other national forces operating as part of the International Security Assistance Force.
NZ $ 7 million request did not find that New Zealand The Defense Force (NZDF) plans to cover the victims, suggested by investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in their book Hit & Run. However, the report said the NZDF had never corrected claims made to the public and ministers by its personnel that the allegations of civilian casualties were “baseless”.
The report found that failure to properly convey information to senior leaders and NZDF ministers meant that they did not have appropriate information and could not respond to Parliament or the media.
This is the “most serious” finding in the report, he said.
“That became the NZDF narrative that was accepted because of a lack of commitment and disappointing rigor, both individually and collectively, on the part of senior NZDF personnel … it developed a false narrative, which misled ministers and the public and unfair public trust undermined accuracy. from several aspects of the author’s work.
“The ministers cannot exercise democratic control over the military. The military does not exist for their own purposes, they are intended to be controlled by their minister responsible to Parliament. “
As such, the report found that SAS soldiers were not found to be directly responsible for the deaths of wrongful civilians, saying they acted professionally during the attack.
The investigation found that the possibility of a girl possibly aged eight to 10 years was killed during the operation. He also considers that the way a detainee is treated and handled shows New Zealand’s detention policy is inappropriate and does not reflect New Zealand values. The rebel captured by Qari Miraj was handed over by Afghan authorities based on the knowledge that he might be tortured.
The findings of the investigation will leave New Zealand “surprised”, attorney general David Parker told reporters on Friday. Public sentiment was never very supportive of participation in war, and the NZDF always highlighted the efforts of the reconstruction of its forces and nation building, rather than its combat mission.
Parker said that releasing the full report “demonstrates our commitment to transparency”.
“Given the community’s need to have confidence in the NZDF, the government decided that it was in the public interest to conduct an investigation. The findings from this report show that it is the right thing to do, “Parker said.
The government investigation made four recommendations:
· The expert review group must look at the NZDF organizational structure, the recording and taking process.
· The Office of the Independent Inspector General of Defense (located outside the NZDF organizational structure) must be established to facilitate independent oversight of the NZDF and enhance democratic accountability.
· NZDF orders must be enforced by specifying how alleged civilian casualties should be handled in the theater and in New Zealand.
· The government must establish effective detention policies and procedures relating to people detained by, or with the involvement of New Zealand troops overseas and how they are treated.
Parker said that the book Hit & Run contains “a lot of mistakes” but the important thing is the book is true.
“Without the book, the findings of the report and important recommendations would not have been possible. In view of this, it is true to acknowledge, as is the report, that the book has provided valuable public service, “he said.
NZDF has sent around 3,500 personnel to Afghanistan since 2001. Eight people have died in fighting. There are still more than 10 New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan who train local military officers, in deployments that will last until the end of 2020.