Key worries about troop safety
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 5:20a.m.
By Peter Wilson and Laura McQuillan
Prime Minister John Key says he would send elite SAS troops back to Afghanistan "in a heartbeat" if he thought they could protect New Zealand soldiers in Bamyan province.
Watch the video to see journalist Jon Stephenson discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
And he wants a detailed assessment from the Defence Force of the equipment they're using after three soldiers were killed when their Humvee hit a roadside bomb on Sunday.
Mr Key says an SAS logistics and planning group might be sent to Afghanistan but not combat soldiers.
"Would I redeploy the SAS to protect our people if I thought that would make their lives safer? I would do that in a heartbeat," he said.
"But my advice is that's not the issue. There are other special forces there that could go in and undertake the same role with high degrees of efficiency."
Mr Key says he's asked Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones whether the soldiers who died on Sunday would have been safer in a light armoured vehicle (LAV).
"The answer has been that the bomb would have torn any vehicle apart," he said.
"I've asked him to again go through it, line by line, and make sure we're doing everything we can to provide the safest environment we can".
The three Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) soldiers - Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard Harris, 21 - were killed instantly when the bomb exploded under their Humvee.
Their bodies will be flown to Australia by the Australian Defence Force before arriving back in New Zealand, probably on Friday.
Mr Key says the latest deaths - just two weeks ago two soldiers were killed in a firefight - haven't caused a rethink of the PRT's return date.
He says it's "highly likely" the troops will come home in April next year, earlier than previously indicated, but that date was being considered more than two weeks ago.
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21/08/2012 9:23:53 p.m.
Robert W wrote:
No, i dont agree with sending the SAS there again, it wont do anything, the PRT are all trained in combat all soldiers are.
There is no defence against IEDs.
This is a terrible situation for our troops to be placed in. Wars have been going on there for many years with no resolution.
I know our soldiers believe they are achieving something there, but i'm sceptical.
Muslims detest infidels, such as us.
As a former 1RNZIR member, i say GET OUR GUYS OUT OF THERE, before anymore are murdered.
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
21/08/2012 2:13:45 p.m.
well the SAS cant help them if they are here...send them over, at least they will be near by if required.
21/08/2012 8:59:32 a.m.
NZ needs to leave, we have no place there, it is a war started by the US, for reasons that are not legitimate. I say put our resources into areas that are helpful. We are a small nation and money could be better spent with troops helping countries in the pacific.
21/08/2012 8:33:51 a.m.
You forgot to ask JK how the baseball game went? And will he be attending this service? Guess its tricky now, if he does attend then it makes the other two appear less significant but if he does not attend it makes him look like he does not give a stuff. Wonder if his son plays any other sports that would be the easy option!
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