Soldiers killed by 20kg bomb
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 5:10a.m.
It was a bomb that weighed more than 20kg which killed the three New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Prime Minister John Key says it could have been made by the same Taliban expert who was being hunted a fortnight ago when two soldiers were killed in a firefight.
"Obviously this bomb-maker, if he is the person responsible for the deaths of our soldiers, is very sophisticated," Mr Key said on Monday.
"It was a very large bomb, over 20kg as we understand. We need to intercept him and ensure he can't carry on with his activities."
Mr Key says New Zealand's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province needs better information about Taliban activities in neighbouring Baghlan province, where a Hungarian PRT operates.
"We are working alongside the Hungarians, their focus has been in the northern part of Baghlan," he said.
"Insurgents have been able to get a foothold in southern Baghlan and that's where New Zealand may increase its patrols... if we're more proactive they're less likely to be able to get established and lay their bombs in the ground."
Govt reviewing Afghanistan exit date
Mr Key says the Government is now reviewing its exit date from Afghanistan but that decision is not connected to the deaths of five Kiwi soldiers who've died in Bamiyan this month.
Just under 150 New Zealand soldiers remain in Afghanistan, working as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan, but they are likely to be joined by more non-combative troops after a spike in the level of military activity in the province.
Four men and one woman have died in the last few weeks, including three soldiers who were killed on Sunday by a road-side bomb.
Mr Key says New Zealand is supporting Afghan police in trying to track down the militants and bomb-makers.
A New Zealand journalist in Afghanistan, Jon Stevenson, says the Taliban has begun targeting the traditionally secure province of Bamiyan, making it even more dangerous for Kiwi soldiers.
“The likelihood is very high that the troops that stay will incur more fatalities or injuries or both, that’s the reality of being in a warzone,” says Mr Stevenson.
Taliban not ‘necessarily’ behind attack
But despite the Taliban being quick to take credit for the latest attack, the Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings, says that doesn't necessarily mean they're behind it.
“The Taliban routinely claims responsibility for these types of attacks, it’s just part of their overall propaganda, and it just remains to be seen whether it really was the Taliban or a group operating separate to them,” says Mr Jennings.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be briefed about the deaths of the three New Zealand soldiers at next week’s Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga but it is not known if Mr Key’s discussions will include plans for a strike against those responsible.
It has been confirmed that the withdrawal of Kiwi troops could be brought forward from September next year, with an April date now possible, but Mr Key says that depends on operations being conducted by coalition partner Japan completing a runway they are building in Bamiyan Province. The runway would be essential to allow Air Force Hercules planes to fly in and collect all personnel and equipment.
“We’re still, we think, two weeks away from making that final decision,” says Mr Key.
“Because it’s contingent on some work that one of our partners is doing and the logistical capability of us getting out, we’ve been going back and forth with that particular party to see whether there’s flexibility in the way that they operate.”
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says in the meantime security is paramount.
“We take security very seriously, we act on the professional advice of the military and they are telling us that everything possible has been put in place given that it’s a very high risk environment,” says Mr Coleman.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
21/08/2012 5:28:00 p.m.
"Bring our troops home"
Primeminister, attend their funerals - no more trips to do your family things
You make PrimeMinister look like any man & his dog can do the job
Represent the people, especially those who die working for our Country ( sad loss) in war overseas
Eventing legend Sir Mark Todd was one of a number of sports ...
Now police in one city have reported dramatic results, slash...
Tourists in Christchurch are being kicked out of the interna...
A man is dead and a woman is critically injured after an inc...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.