NZDF ill-equipped, says security op
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 6:14p.m.
By Patrick Gower
The Taliban is saying that more Kiwi troops are going to die in Afghanistan, and a New Zealand private security operator who works there agrees.
Jack Waldron fears it'll be by another improvised explosive device, or IED, and warns the New Zealand gear is just too vulnerable. He should know – he has been blown up himself.
His vehicle was at the front of a convoy in Afghanistan when it was hit by a roadside bomb. One man was killed. Mr Waldron was inside, but he survived.
“There's a big white flash,” says Mr Waldron. “The heat from the blast squeezes the whole inside of you. You can't breathe.”
Mr Waldron has been hit by IEDs three times in Iraq and Afghanistan. After one blast, the private security company Mr Waldron was working for switched to mine-resistant vehicles, known as MRAPs.
Yet, after four deaths due to IEDs, Kiwi troops still don't have them. All four died in Humvees, and Waldron says it's wasting lives.
“The Kiwi soldiers, if they continue to ride around in these vehicles, we will see more bloodshed.”
The army maintains the latest Taliban bomb would have destroyed any vehicle, and the Government says troops have what they need.
“To the best of my knowledge, yes, I've never had a request where the CDF comes along and said, ‘We need this piece of kit,'" says Prime Minister John Key.
“I can tell you that similar bombs, if not bigger, have blown underneath some of these MRAPs that the Americans use and the troops have walked away,” says Mr Waldron.
What about the army's claim MRAPs are too top-heavy to be safe on Bamiyan's roads?
“What they have forgotten to say is there are other MRAPs of a smaller model that are more protective than the Humvee that can operate in Bamiyan,” says Mr Waldron. “The reason I say that is because I've used them.”
Despite the criticism from Mr Waldron and others, the Defence Force maintains it does not need MRAPs. Although there are still six months still to go before we leave Afghanistan, troops will not be getting them.
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9/09/2012 9:35:02 a.m.
President Barrack Obama wrote:
We can all be who we want to be on the internets.
30/08/2012 10:18:51 a.m.
Its a simple matter of money.NZDF don't want to spend the money on the MRAPs.
29/08/2012 2:25:09 p.m.
Door Kicker wrote:
40+ Australian soldiers have suvived such attacks in there MRAPS Bushmaster mkII so give this vehicle deserve CREDIT too wheres the like button.
29/08/2012 9:48:59 a.m.
Newsflash! MRAPs get blown up by IEDs all the time and people die in them. If you get hit by the wrong IED it doesn't matter what you are in. When it's your day, it's just your day. Quit whining and if you don't like your job, get a different one. From a vet with 4 tours (2 Iraq/2 Afghanistan).
29/08/2012 7:26:30 a.m.
Hinemoa Te Hira wrote:
ERR...thank you for your write up, however don't you think the fact of the matter here is that our soldiers serving in the most dangerous place on planet earth are ill equipped to be there therefore, as "peace keepers" shouldn't they have the ultimate protection?...just like the Americans? .if not then why not??? This is the question.... I'm sure Jack is just stating the obvious, .... Bring them home, not our was supporter!
29/08/2012 12:38:54 a.m.
As usual New Zealand troops have substanderd gear thanks to our politicians piss poor policys. Probably the reason that the NZDF arnt asking for them is that even if our politicians agree they would probably not get them till there deployment was over and like most other military equipment our tight fisted short sighted burecuats buy will probably need to have millions spent on them to be any good.
28/08/2012 10:48:30 p.m.
Ret. Sgt Brett Vogt wrote:
As one of Jacks previous co-workers in Kandahar; I can confirm what he has said is correct. This was his team that was hit. Our vehicles were upgraded to MRAPs, of which Jack was the Commander, averaging 15 missions per week, we moved with relative safety because of his professionalism and report with local Warlords. His subject matter knowledge on this topic has, and will save lives. The NZ Govt and Military should listen. Good on you Jack.
28/08/2012 8:28:22 p.m.
Err - Correction to Jack's Last...... wrote:
Apologies to readers - but to clarify some points.
Mr. Waldron was not part of this convoy and no one died in this convoy. He is however, correct in saying that MRAP's will provide greater protection, but the Army is also correct in stating they are too top heavy for the road conditions in the NZ AO. I challenge Mr. Waldron in his claims to have used MRAP's - he has not, his advice is uneducated and an assumption. Does the NZDF require better equipment? Yes, most certainly. Will there be more bloodshed caused by militant actions? Yes, of course. But this has very little to do with equipment and much to do with political inhibitions to show the public that improvements to Afghan security is poor and is not as they claim. There is still a war raging in Afghanistan, this has never changed so for politicians to state they have no need for better equipment because the security environment improves daily is disrespectful to those serving and negligent on a massive scale.
As for Mr. Waldron's claims - well, this isn't the first time he's told a few white lies to portray himself as an SME (Subject Matter Expert)...
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