No SAS involved in Afghan rescue: NZDF
Mon, 04 Jun 2012 2:35p.m.
The New Zealand Defence Force is rejecting reports elite SAS troops were involved in the daring rescue of kidnapped aid workers in Afghanistan.
British media reported New Zealand soldiers helped British SAS troops rescue 28-year-old Briton Helen Johnston and three others from a cave complex in the early hours of Saturday (local time).
The four, who work for Switzerland-based humanitarian group Medair, were kidnapped on May 22 in Badakhshan province, the Associated Press reports.
Britain's The Independent reported about 30 British SAS troops, backed by US Navy Seals and New Zealand special forces, were dropped off by Black Hawk helicopters and marched 8km across mountainous terrain at night to the cave.
A firefight ensued, with eight kidnappers killed and the four hostages rescued.
The New Zealand Defence Force has dispelled the reports of its soldiers' involvement.
It says all NZSAS troops who served in Afghanistan returned to New Zealand in April, and none took part in the raid.
The raid was carried out after British officials received intelligence that the kidnappers were planning to kill one of the hostages, Britain's Mirror reports.
Ms Johnston and the other hostages were reportedly shocked but unhurt, and were recovering in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
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