NZ journalist speaks about Taliban capture
Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:32p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A senior Taliban figure believed to have been involved with an attack that killed two New Zealand soldiers last month has been captured in Afghanistan.
A raid was carried out yesterday at Talawa Barfak in the Baghlan province.
One Taliban insurgent was shot dead and three others were detained. The US-led coalition claims one of the persons captured is connected with the attack on Kiwi soldiers.
New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson has been researching the raid from Kabul in Afghanistan.
“What we know is that a joint Afghan coalition operation, probably a helicopter-borne assault, arrested a Taliban insurgent leader who the coalition here says is senior leader in the network involved in attacks on coalition forces in the area," he told Firstline this morning.
"That includes the incident which killed two New Zealand PRT soldiers and wounded six in the north east Bamiyan province on the fourth of August.”
Mr Stephenson says this raid is a direct response to those attacks.
“They’ve done a lot of surveillance, they’ve done a lot of intelligence work, and it’s directly related to the killing of those two soldiers.”
Mr Stephenson says the exact location of the operation is unknown, but he does know that it took place in the mountainous Talawa Barfak area, just across the border from Bamiyan.
And he says US troops probably took the lead in the operation.
“We know the coalition was heavily involved, it was probably US troops that took the lead, [but it’s] highly unlikely I’m told that any SAS troops were involved – but the coalition won’t rule that out.”
Mr Stephenson says there were three people detained in total.
“The key figure, who is the person they refer to as the senior Taliban leader, he is a weapons facilitator he buys explosives, he buys heavy machine guns. He was a pivotal figure allegedly in this raid on the fourth of August. They say they’ve absolutely connected him to the fourth of August incident in which those two New Zealanders were killed in Bamiyan.”
Watch the video for the full interview with Jon Stephenson.
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