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Revenge attack to follow interrogation

Monday 24 Sep 2012 4:32 p.m.

By Patrick Gower

The family of Pralli Durrer - one of five New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan recently – says they are pleased there has been a counter-strike against the insurgents.

“[There’s] a lot to be done yet, but certainly this is a morale boost,” says Mr Durrer’s grandfather Jack Durrer.

One Taliban member was killed and three others captured in the raid which took place in Tala Wa Barfak, in Baghlan province, across the border from Bamiyan province where Kiwi troops are based.

A major target was captured in the attack - the network's arms dealer – and the interrogation could lead to other insurgents being caught.

“The coalition and Afghan security forces will be hoping his interrogation yields further information that will lead them to track down or bring to justice the other members of the insurgent group,” says Afghanistan-based journalist Jon Stephenson.

Four New Zealand SAS troops were sent to Afghanistan last week to help hunt the Taliban fighters responsible for the five recent New Zealand deaths, but no Kiwis were involved in the strike.

United States Defence Secretary Leon Panetta last week pledged support for a revenge attack, which will come after the arms dealer is questioned.

“There's no question [this attack] was a response - they could have killed this guy if they were of a mind to do so, but I think it’s important to see that they've detained him,” says Mr Stephenson.

The arms dealer will be questioned on both the Taliban unit's leader and the bomb-maker. Both are still at large, and are possibly even over the border in Pakistan.

What is certain however, is that the hunt for them is well and truly underway.

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