Three Kiwi soldiers dead in Afghanistan
Mon, 20 Aug 2012 5:25a.m.
By 3 News online staff
The Government has released the names of the three soldiers killed in improvised explosive device (IED) incident in the north-east of Bamyan Province, in Afghanistan on Sunday.
They are Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21.
Despite the deaths New Zealand will not be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, Prime Minister John Key says.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
But Mr Key says the latest incident will not force New Zealand to pull out of Afghanistan any earlier than the proposed 2013 withdrawal date.
“Prior to the deaths of Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer we had been looking at that date in 2013, and the options are either earlier or later, and the preference has been for an earlier 2013 exit anyway, so we’re not going to be changing the date as a result of these three tragic deaths ,” he says.
Lance Corporals Durrer and Malone died in an encounter with insurgents, also in Bamyan Province, last week.
All five soldiers were from the Burnham military camp in Canterbury.
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) says the latest incident occurred at around 9:20am Afghanistan time on Sunday, north west of Do Abe, on the road to Romero, when the last vehicle in a convoy was hit by the IED. The other troops in the patrol then secured the location and waited for additional support.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss, especially given the recent incident on 4 August. On behalf of the entire New Zealand Defence Force, I extend my deepest sympathies to the families, colleagues and friends of the personnel involved,” says Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones.
The NZDF says it has informed the next of kin.
“Today’s events underscore the gravity of the situations New Zealand’s soldiers face daily in Afghanistan. The three brave soldiers paid the ultimate price for their selfless work, and my thoughts are with their families and friends as they mourn their loved ones,” says Mr Key.
“It was a very, very large explosion. They would have certainly died instantly"
The deaths have renewed calls from the Labour Party to bring the soldiers home, with Labour Party leader David Shearer saying it is clear we are not going to win the war.
“That is something the Afghan people need to do for themselves,” he says.
“The question really is how do we get out, I think as soon as practicable, without cutting and running and leaving more instability behind us.”
But Mr Shearer says withdrawal of the troops would need to be an “orderly transition”.
“What we don’t want to do is undo all that good work by just cutting and running,” he says.
“But I would have thought that transition now should be sooner rather than later.”
A New Zealand journalist in Kabul, Jon Stephenson, says the soldiers killed could be part of a Taliban plan to oust foreigners from the country.
He says the Taliban have said they are doubling their attempts to expel foreign soldiers whose countries contribute to the coalition in Afghanistan.
"There's some suggestion, speculation at this stage which hasn't been confirmed, that Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, has recently called on...the public of those countries to pressure the governments to withdraw troops, just like the French public did after the deaths of five French soldiers earlier this year in a province near Kabul."
A former British Commander, Colonel Richard Kemp, says New Zealand shouldn't be surprised if there's more Taliban action to come.
“The Taliban throughout the country are intending to step up the pace of their operations, they know that NATO forces are planning to withdraw in 2014, they want to be seen to give NATO forces and their allies a bloody nose,” says Mr Kemp.
Mr Kemp says special forces may now be needed in the future.
New Zealand has 145 soldiers serving in three bases in Afghanistan.
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21/08/2012 8:43:02 p.m.
Inia Sutherland wrote:
Im so truly sorry :(
21/08/2012 4:55:07 p.m.
Time Traveller wrote:
May they rest in peace and their families draw strength knowing they did their best to make a difference and leave this world a better place. Thank you for your sons and daughters. God Bless.
21/08/2012 3:07:01 p.m.
For reporters and the general public to suggest that the SAS should redeploy is a laughable! Needing to use special forces to 'protect' trained soldiers would insinuate that the army itself is joke and needs to be wrapped in a protective blanket every time they're deemed to be in danger. Do you see the British or Americans calling in their special forces whenever one of their thousands of casualties occur? No, of course you don't, as they are professional soldiers and they expect to be trusted with enough guts and skill to do what soldiers do best, fight. I may have only served in the NZDF for 3 years after 12 years in the British airborne forces, but I'm pretty sure kiwi soldiers would love to be given the chance to prove themselves as the allied troops fighting and dying in the Helmund Province are doing on a daily basis and no longer mollycoddled as if they were conscripts who were somewhere the didn't choose to be!
21/08/2012 2:39:27 p.m.
Lloyd Liutai wrote:
Witnessed first hand the cost of this war as we unloaded a fallen Marine Captain last week from Afganistan....let's finish the mission and let them Govern their own country!!.......how many more will fall before it's over.?.
21/08/2012 12:24:11 p.m.
I now hear that the kiwis are planning a retaliatory strike or strikes against the Taliban.
This will prove to be a complete waste of time & will probably only harden the resolve of the Taliban, & it should also be remembered that the Russians tried for many years to beat & gain the upper hand on the Taliban with probably hundreds of thousands of so-called retaliatory strike, mostly helicopter gunships but had to call it a no win situation before eventually withdrawing, & whats more those local Taliban no their rugged territory so much better than their foreign enemy.
21/08/2012 5:15:59 a.m.
Tony Gonzales wrote:
My condolences to the Families of these Kiwi Soldiers. I haven't the words to express my gratitude for having your country stand with us in the fight against terrorism. My heart and prayers go to their families. My Father a former Sgm retired with the %th Special forces and I a former Para debated the issue as to who actually paid the ultimate sacrifice. Dad believes it is the soldier who gives their lives. I belelieve it's the families. They have to somehow find the strength to endure the pain which never goes away. Either way, blessed are we to have your support and I pray these families can find the strenght day to day to endure the unimagineable. Will always be grateful to have the Kiwi's as member of the civilized world.
20/08/2012 5:51:46 p.m.
@RD never heard such nonsense. Sorry for the loss but if that is your insight then you deserve it. You say "Luke would be happy that he died" get real mate and that he was an excellent soldier with exceptional soldier skills - well not good enough then! As a Tax paying NZer I feel I have the right to my say on this thread also and that is STOP paying millions of dollars into a pointless war that has nothing to do with us. We are just expendable puppets for the US. @MIST The foreign troops are our own? And yes these soldiers are terrorists to the fighters on the other side! US have created this B/S war and now NZ troops are dying tidying up the mess. We will never stop this it can only be settled by the Afghans. War breeds war and it is clear from RD that all the NZ soldiers want to do is go and kill people. I would prefer them to be rebuilding Christchurch and making a real difference to NZ. These will not be the last to die!
20/08/2012 4:17:37 p.m.
Given that the Taliban are reported to be hunting down & targeting our Kiwis, the only decision has to be to bring our troops home & fast or keep on hearing in our news that there have been more kiwi deaths.
20/08/2012 2:18:57 p.m.
Brent Smith wrote:
Keep calm and carry on with doing the job. Our troops are trained and accept the difficulties they face. Let them get on with the task at hand. No knee jerk reactions are needed. Instead we must honour the fallen, support their families and the troops who they fought with. That is the Kiwi way!
20/08/2012 1:53:30 p.m.
R.D why do you and your military friends want to fight an American war? American's are the biggest war mongers on the planet. They have been killing in Afghanistan since 2001. They shouldn't be there, and we shouldn't be supporting them.
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