Media release 11 April 2018
Nicky Hager has welcomed the announcement today of an independent inquiry into civilian casualties during the August 2010 NZSAS raid in Afghanistan – Operation Burnham – the subject of the 2017 book Hit and Run.
“This is very, very good news for New Zealand,” he said. “It is vital that, as a country, we can face up to incidents where our military does terrible things.”
He said good people have been chosen for the inquiry, the terms of reference are broad and resources have been allocated so it can do a proper job. “It feels like the start of a sound and thorough process.”
“There have been years of cover up by the NZSAS and senior military staff ever since the raid – intended for insurgents – killed and wounded 21 civilians, most of them women and children. Even after we wrote a whole book setting out what had happened, the New Zealand Defence Force continued its denials. It is an intolerable situation when the military tries to cover up its own misdeeds.”
“The obvious answer was an independent inquiry and so we warmly welcome today's announcement.”
“International law says that countries have a legal obligation to conduct an independent inquiry whenever there are credible allegations of civilian casualties. The New Zealand Defence Force and government refused to do this for seven years. At last another government is doing the right thing.”
For more information, contact Nicky Hager 04 3845074