Latest news: March 2018

NZDF confirms photos in 'Hit & Run' was where Operation Burnham took place - NZ Herald

NZDF staff asked to 'tell the truth' after alleged SAS operation cover-up - NZ Herald

The Panel - RNZ

NZDF confirms 'Hit & Run' photos were right - Newstalk ZB

The fight over the location of Hit and Run - NZ Herald

Truth – A NZ War Casualty - Kapiti Independent

Herald catch NZDF out in war crime lie - The Daily Blog

Inquiry into Defence Force actions in Afghanistan essential to clear the fog of war - Stuff

Yesterdaze: Calling all intelligent life on earth - Newsroom

Political Roundup: Defence cover-up starts to unravel - NZ Herald

Afghan raid inquiry needed to dispel confusion - lawyer - RNZ

The fog of time: why the Defence Force’s Hit and Run admission really matters - The Spinoff

Afghan villagers' case against NZDF still headed for court - RNZ

Defence Force U-turn: Hit and Run location was accurate - Newshub

Petition delivered to Parliament in a coffin calling for full inquiry into Hit and Run allegations - Stuff

Pressure mounts on Government for Hit and Run inquiry - Newshub

    Hit & Run raid: Defence Force acknowledges 'confusion' on civilian casualty statements - NZ Herald

    Defence Force admits book's location right, but denies civilian casualties - Stuff

      NZDF admits Afghan village raid same location as in Hit & Run - RNZ

      Defence Force admits SAS Afghan raid WAS in the same location as events in Hit and Run - The Daily Blog

      NZDF admits they lied - No Right Turn

      Defence admits it was wrong, and Nicky Hager was correct - Scoop

      NZDF still not answering questions: Hager - NZCity

      Book exposes New Zealand’s cover-up of possible war crime in Afghanistan - Mint Press News


      Defence Force admits SAS Afghan raid WAS in the same location as events in Hit and Run

      The New Zealand Defence Force has admitted that the photographs of an Afghan village shown in the book Hit and Run – the site where six civilians were killed and 15 civilians seriously injured during an NZSAS raid – are indeed the same place where the SAS conducted a raid that night.

      When the book Hit and Run was published in March last year, the Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating held a press conference claiming that the book had nothing to do with the New Zealand SAS because the SAS had been in a different place on that date.

      In response to questions from reporters, Keating said:

      It’s irrefutable that we operated in a different area to the claims of the book” and

      it’s not on an operation the NZSAS conducted.”

      Understandably, the public and the journalists were left confused about who was telling the truth.

      Now, a year later, the Ombudsman has ordered the Defence Force to release more information, including on the subject of whether the photos in the book were the same location where the NZSAS was operating that night (22 August 2010). The Defence Force has finally admitted that the “three photographs in the book are of Tirgiran Village”, the NZDF's name for the place where the SAS conducted the raid.

      Hit and Run co-author Nicky Hager said the Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating had tried to divert attention away from the issue of civilian casualties by claiming the book was not about a raid the SAS had conducted.

      “It was simply a diversion. This seems extremely unprofessional behaviour from a senior military officer,” Mr Hager said. “I believe that the impulse to hide the NZDF's mistakes led the Chief of Defence Force knowingly to mislead the media and the public.”

      The NZDF had jumped on an error in two of the book's illustrations, which marked the location of the raid incorrectly in the roadless mountains. But the rest of the book – the text, the photos and the lists of casualties – was correct. Mr Hager publicly acknowledged the map error and a new edition of the book was published soon after with the illustration errors corrected. But the Defence Force continued to use the map error to say that the whole book was wrong.

      The Defence Force released the new information in response to Official Information Act requests by Mr Hager and four others which have been investigated for months by the Ombudsman's office. Apart from the admission about the photos, very little new information has been provided by the Defence Force. Instead the Defence Force “information pack” presents its alternative version of what happened in Operation Burnham, largely unsupported by any documentation:

      For more information: contact Nicky Hager 04 3845074

      Nicky Hager Media Release: Defence Force had reports of civilian casualties after SAS raid but did nothing

      The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) received intelligence updates within one or two days of the August 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan that reported civilian casualties, including the death of a child, new Official Information Act documents reveal. This is what was written in the book Hit and Run but the NZDF had denied the whole book.


      Hit and Run co-author Nicky Hager, who has been probing the defence force using the Official Information Act (OIA), says this is an important crack in the NZDF denials.


      The 13 February 2018 NZDF OIA response admitted that five New Zealand military intelligence reports written after the SAS raid “mention the death of a child” and also injuries to a woman. The intelligence reports were dated 24 (two), 25 and 26 August 2010, the days following the 22 August 2010 raid, and 27 July 2011.*


      The NZDF letter said the reports of civilian casualties were “unconfirmed” – but under international law and the NZDF's own internal rules, the SAS should have thoroughly investigated any reports of civilian casualties during an operation that it had commanded. Instead, it appears they did not bother to investigate nor made any effort to help the victims.


      In contrast to the new admissions, the SAS in Afghanistan helped to write a International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press release after the raid that said “No civilians were injured or killed during this operation.”


      The following year, in April 2011, when rumours of the SAS raid reached the media in New Zealand, Defence issued a press release saying that allegations of civilian casualties were “unfounded”. This is despite the civilian casualties being reported in the New York Times, local Afghan media and a UN report shortly after the raid and the Afghan government Independent Directorate of Local Government producing a full list of the names of the 21 dead and injured.


      When Hit and Run was published in March 2017, naming and describing each of the 21 casualties, chief of defence force Tim Keating dismissed the whole book, saying “it’s not on an operation the NZSAS conducted”. As a backstop, he told journalists that “The official line is that civilian casualties may have occurred. But not corroborated.”


      It is clear from the new information that the SAS had specific reports of the death of the child, whom we now know was a three-year old girl called Fatima, but that it chose not to try to corroborate the reports nor to make amends. Instead years of cover up began.


      Mr Hager is now seeking full copies of the NZDF intelligence reports that will show exactly what the SAS said at the time.

      For more information, contact Nicky Hager, 04 3845074

      * The OIA question asked “Did any post-activity reports from Operation Burnham refer to the death of a child? b) If yes, what was the title and date of the report(s)? c) And what action was taken to follow up the report or reports?” Following questions asked about injury to a woman and the death of an elderly man. The NZDF response confirmed injury to a woman but not the death of an elderly man.

      Latest news: December 2017

      Moving on after FJK - The Standard

      2017: Are we there yet? - RNZ


      Unity Books in Wellington was a bunfight as journalists Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager released their book, Hit & Run, which claimed six civilians were killed in a raid on two Afghan villages involving New Zealand's SAS in 2010. The claims were, predictably, denied by both the government and the defence force, although an ex-defence minister said he believed that civilians were killed. Calls for a government inquiry were steadfastly ignored."

      10 biggest NZ political scandals and scams of 2017 - The Daily Blog

      It is alleged with clear precision that John Key green lighted  a revenge mission for the death of a NZ SAS soldier and because it was poorly planned and knee-jerk we have targeted and destroyed 12 houses, killed 6 innocent civilians (including a school teacher and a child) and seriously injured 15 others.... NZDF realised that the raid had gone wrong but instead covered it up and lied to media about what actually happened.

      Defence Minister plots a war on climate change - Newsroom

      Mark says the Government is yet to make a decision on whether to hold an inquiry into allegations of war crimes in [Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s book] Hit and Run (“We have been very busy with the 100-day programme, there will be an opportunity when the Prime Minister’s diary is a little bit clearer to sit down and discuss it”), but it’s clear he personally feels no desire to start an investigation.

      “I have absolute confidence in the men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force...they’re good people who live by the highest standards in terms of their ethics and morality, who are highly professional, highly capable, good people.”

      The 10 best-selling books of 2017 at Unity Books, Auckland - The Spinoff

      [Hit and Run] remains a strong, powerful piece of investigative reporting by our two most distinguished independent journalists.


      Latest news: November 2017

      Statement from Jon Stephenson

      Hit and Run co-author Jon Stephenson has put out the following statement in response to the Government's plan to investigate Operation Burnham:

      "I am encouraged by the prime minister’s promise to look into the allegations that civilians were killed and wounded in the 2010 SAS-led raid known as Operation Burnham. 

      However, it is essential that any inquiry that is ordered be conducted by an independent authority and not by the New Zealand Defence Force. It is also important that any inquiry be adequately resourced and that its terms of reference enable a credible and thorough investigation.

      Several of my sources, who were involved in Operation Burnham and subsequent events, have confirmed that they are prepared to give evidence on oath at any such inquiry. They are confident that an independent and impartial investigation will substantiate the claims of civilian deaths and injuries.

      I am also confident that an independent and impartial inquiry will confirm that a New Zealand SAS trooper physically abused a blindfolded and flexi-tied detainee, that this detainee was then transferred to known torturers who proceeded to torture him, and that the NZDF knew about this and covered it up."

      Hit and Run review: Chris Pugsley

      Chris Pugsley, military historian and retired infantry officer reviewed Hit and Run in New Zealand Books with the following:

      "Hit and Run is an important book, which raises uncomfortable questions that needed to be asked. On the balance of probabilities, the CDF's [Chief of Defence Force's] robust defence  does not stand up to scrutiny -- a New Zealand-led and controlled operation resulted in a large number of civilian casualties relative to the size of the rural hamlets involved. Our soldiers are well trained and professional, but that does not grant them infallibility -- in this case things appear to have gone badly wrong. I trust we learn from it."

      Press release from Hit & Run Inquiry Campaign

      Remember Fatima on 22 August: Inquiry into Afghan Deaths Now!

      At 12:30pm on Tuesday 22 August, the Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign will hold a commemoration protest at the Wellington Cenotaph to remember Afghan civilians killed seven years ago during a New Zealand SAS-led raid in Baghlan Province Afghanistan. Fatima was one of those killed, at only three years of age.

      “We’re holding this commemoration protest to remind the New Zealand government that justice will not be done until an independent inquiry is conducted into the events of the 22 August 2010,” says Marianne Elliott from Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign.

      On 22 August 2010, after an NZ SAS-led raid on two Afghan villages looking for the insurgents responsible for the death of a New Zealand soldier, six Afghan civilians, including a three-year-old girl named Fatima, were dead. Seven years later New Zealanders are still not clear what was done in their name.

      Earlier this year, the story was blown wide open by the release of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book Hit & Run, which investigated the raid - Operation Burnham.

      “We know New Zealanders value honesty, giving everyone a fair go and owning up to our mistakes. That’s why we’re asking our government to launch an investigation into the allegations against New Zealand Defence Forces, particularly the SAS. If we want to uphold New Zealand’s good international reputation, it is the right thing to do,” states Marianne Elliott.

      Join the Hit and Run Inquiry Campaign at the Wellington Cenotaph Tuesday, 22 August 2017 at 12.30 pm to mark the seventh anniversary of Operation Burnham and to make our collective voice heard. 

      Speakers on the day:

      • Nicky Hager
      • Marianne Elliott (ActionStation)
      • Barry Coates (the Green Party)
      • Peace Action Wellington

      Media spokesperson: Marianne Elliott – phone: 021 110 6086

      Event coordinator: Aida Tavassoli, Phone: 021 0866 9500

      To know more about the Hit & Run Inquiry Campaign please visit our Facebook page:

      If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

      A people’s campaign for an inquiry into allegations of the NZSAS killings of civilians in Afghanistan