The Military => The Military: Newsflash => Topic started by: MontyB on 14 January 2011, 08:34:53

Title: SAS fired in self-defence - report
Post by: MontyB on 14 January 2011, 08:34:53
SAS fired in self-defence - report

6:30 PM Friday Jan 14, 2011
Photo / Supplied
New Zealand SAS soldiers fired weapons in self-defence killing two security guards during an operation in Afghanistan on Christmas Eve, an investigation by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and the New Zealand Defence Force has found.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae said today video footage of the operation in the capital, Kabul, showed the New Zealanders were fired on first.

The SAS were on a joint mission with Afghan forces to prevent what was believed to be an imminent attack on the US embassy in Kabul.

The ISAF report cleared the New Zealand soldiers of any wrong-doing, Lt Gen Mateparae said.

He said video imagery had captured the heat plumes from weapons as they were fired.

"It clearly shows the New Zealanders came under fire from an Afghan 'security guard' and that the New Zealanders only returned fire in self defence because they were at risk of death or serious injury. The guard was wounded during the exchange of fire and then retreated into a nearby building."

The video then went on to show two further Afghan security guards armed with AK-47 weapons running into a compound and taking up firing positions metres away from the New Zealand soldiers, he said.

"The New Zealand forces yelled a command for the Afghans to stop. Because they were in immediate danger they then returned fire at the two Afghan security guards, which resulted in their deaths. The video imagery shows what appears to be a heat plume coming from one of the security guards weapons, indicating that at least one of them opened fire at close range on the New Zealanders before they returned the fire."

The SAS then cleared nearby buildings and a medical officer treated the wounded Afghans.

The weapons of the dead Afghan guards had a round chambered in each weapon, which Lt Gen Mateparae said showed they were ready to open fire on the New Zealanders.

The video footage would not be released.

"Having reviewed the circumstances I am satisfied that members of the NZSAS responded with discipline, professionalism and courage to the threats they faced."

Following the incident Afghan interior ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary said international troops exceeded their mandate in the raid.

"This was a heart-rending and tragic incident. The forces involved in that operation, regardless of the rules and pre-agreements, conducted an operation within Kabul city," he said.

An Afghan general with responsibility for some of the police involved in the raid had been suspended and a colonel had been fired over the incident.

New Zealand has about 70 special forces troops in Afghanistan, believed to be operating in Kabul, as well as 140 personnel carrying out reconstruction work in Bamiyan.

- NZPA (