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AFGHANISTAN


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: July 28, 2009, 04:26:16 pm »


AARON LIM: New Zealand's role in Afghanistan

The Dominion Post | 1:45PM - Thursday, 02 July 2009

THE GOOD FIGHT

The Government's review of defence contributions to Afghanistan, due to be completed next month, comes at a critical juncture for the war.

Afghanistan was the first time Nato invoked Article 5 of the alliance, requiring collective defence of member states. In the aftermath of September 11, the Nato mission served as an important symbol of support for the United States.

But the fractured Nato effort, with countries narrowly defining the parameters of their participation, has led to a grim reality. Violence in Afghanistan today has reached its highest levels since the Taleban was driven from power.

The New Zealand Defence Force's recent gun-battle with insurgents in Bamyan province highlights the precarious situation on the ground ahead of the Afghan elections next month.

This is the first time a patrol from the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team has been engaged in an incident by gunfire.

The harsh reality of Afghanistan was reiterated this week after Kiwi forces narrowly escaped injury from an improvised explosive device.

New Zealand has committed approximately 140 personnel to Bamyan until 2010. It is an area usually regarded as quiet and well away from the worst of the insurgency.

Afghanistan today is characterised by an expanding cross-border insurgency, ineffective governance and a substantial narcotics industry. In response to the situation, the Obama Administration has announced a parallel surge in civilian experts and troops.

A co-ordinated approach to nation-building and war-fighting will be central in turning tactical success against insurgents into strategic victory.

Not only has the Taleban re-emerged to reclaim parts of Afghanistan, the militants have also made disturbing advances in Pakistan.

The rise of al Qaeda's Taleban allies in the Swat Valley northwest of Islamabad has raised fears for Pakistan's stability and its nuclear arsenal.

The Afghan- Pakistan border region is now a single theatre of conflict. Pakistan's engagement will be critical in combating spiralling anarchy across both countries.

New Zealand has been asked to increase its contribution to the war in an effort to fight the very real possibility of regional chaos. The global context must underpin any discussion on war.

Wars are not isolated events. They are shaped by contemporary affairs. The financial crisis will have a clear impact on international security and political decision making.

Economic turmoil lacks the existential threat of al Qaeda or rogue nuclear weapons. But financial catastrophe can accelerate instability in already weak regimes.

With voters devastated by an economic implosion, politicians will also find it increasingly difficult to justify costly military deployments outside their immediate geography.


AFGHANISTAN LESSONS

The international community will be less forthcoming in committing more money or extra troops to the war this time around.

New Zealand's economic outlook is no better than the rest of the world's. Expanding our military contribution to Afghanistan in a significant manner would require considerable financial alchemy.

Measured against our military and economic assets, the current deployment represents a fair expenditure of blood and treasure.

The NZDF has, to its credit, been able to maintain a high operational tempo despite shortfalls in equipment, funding and personnel. There is, however, a limit on how far the No 8 wire spirit can augment scarce military resources.

For New Zealand, the need to contribute to global operations must be weighed against retaining a surplus capability for regional contingencies.

Defence capability is only one factor in the calculus of war. Public opinion is a decisive element in all conflicts.

While it is difficult to characterise Afghanistan as a popular war, it is not unpopular either.

It has not drawn the hysterical opposition that has become associated with Iraq. In New Zealand and other Western states, the media battle for public support has been reasonably successful.

The mission in Afghanistan is largely perceived by the public to be legitimate.

Corporal Willie Apiata and his Victoria Cross played a significant role in shaping an honorable, yet humble, narrative of New Zealand's involvement in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan itself is where the information war is being lost against Taleban propaganda.

Ultimately the decision on New Zealand's involvement, including deploying the SAS, is a political one. The use of force serves a political purpose.

Interest and necessity must benchmark New Zealand's role in Afghanistan. Will there be a generous dividend from the United States for an escalation in our involvement?

In the current economic climate, it would not be difficult to find justifications for a hasty exit. But the temptation to categorise this conflict solely as "Obama's War" must be resisted.

A worst-case scenario is that the Afghan-Pakistan region descends into the anarchy of Somalia, but with nuclear weapons. That's everyone's problem.


Aaron Lim is a Fairfax financial markets journalist. He has worked previously as a military analyst and in the financial markets.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/opinion/2559504/New-Zealands-role-in-Afghanistan
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009, 04:36:25 pm »


CASUALTIES IN AFGHANISTAN
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 01:16:26 am »


UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU!!
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2009, 11:39:53 am »

.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2009, 10:50:33 pm »


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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 01:41:04 am »


A question of engagement for National's fresh troops

New Zealand should look long and hard at the justification for sending SAS troops to Afghanistan, writes Bob Rigg.

The Dominion Post | 8:39AM - Wednesday, 05 August 2009

OUR GOVERNMENT is in a bit of a  pickle over whether and how to  engage with Afghanistan.

After a decade on the back benches, today's National Party has to rely on an inexperienced foreign affairs minister of doubtful acumen and a prime minister who, although capable, is a Harry Potter in the colosseum of geopolitics.

Documents released under the Official Information Act conceal almost everything about the substance of diplomatic exchanges between New Zealand and the US on this question but do show how effectively the State Department swings into action when it is instructed to apply pressure on a wavering ally to provide token military support for a floundering US effort.

To foreign-policy neophytes who have languished on the back benches for a decade, such attention is mildly intoxicating. It is important for the National-led Government to see that other governments being lobbied even more intensively than New Zealand are sending the Americans away empty-handed, without endangering their friendships with the Obama Administration.

EU states of Nato, in whose name the Afghanistan war is ostensibly being fought, have consistently refused to provide strong military backing for a war unpopular with their electorates. Although Britain has until now been an exception, public opinion there is turning against the war as body bags proliferate. EU states have largely withdrawn from active military service in Iraq, and will begin to do the same in Afghanistan after the coming elections — if the present menacing Taleban offensive allows them to take place.

The US-led campaign has escalated the number of Nato body bags, culminating in last month's record total of at least 70. At the weekend six more Nato troops were killed.

Any chance of a Nato victory was blown by the failures of the Bush administration, whose short-sighted policies failed to recognise that, to win a war against insurgents, an occupying force must win the support of the local population.

A recent UN report has warned that the many civilian deaths caused by pro- government operations are leading to "a strong feeling of anger and disappointment among the Afghan general public," and are "undermining support for the continued presence of the international military forces, and the international community generally".

Robert Gates, the hard-nosed Republican US Secretary of Defence, has recently stated that, if US forces in Afghanistan fail to demonstrate real gains by the next American summer, public support for the war will dissipate.

Before our government takes upon itself the political risk associated with the probability that at least some SAS members could be killed in the rapidly worsening Afghan military environment, it needs to look long and hard at the political justification.

In this context the prime minister, foreign affairs minister and defence minister need to publicly declare whether or not they knew of US human rights abuses allegedly associated with SAS units in Afghanistan, and if so, what they knew, and when. If they knew of it, yet supported sending the SAS back into Afghanistan, interesting questions are raised about their judgment. If they did not know, equally interesting questions are raised about the quality of their advice.

By the same token, Helen Clark and Phil Goff need to put their hands on their hearts and to come clean on the same issue. An independent inquiry should be granted an opportunity to corroborate the MPs' stories.

Although the facts have not been established beyond reasonable doubt at this stage, it seems possible that, in playing covert operations together with US special forces, elite SAS troops may have stained New Zealand's relatively unblemished international human rights reputation. A wonderful German proverb may be relevant here: "If you are drinking soup with the devil, make sure you use a long spoon."

If the US was fighting a war with a widely accepted political justification, New Zealand's government could commit itself to a losing war like the present one, and could rely on a degree of continuing public support even if things turned to custard. But the whole world can see that the Bush administration's post-September 11 interventions have made the world less, and not more, secure.

IT WAS the US and Britain that provided hand-picked Islamic insurgents such as Osama Bin Laden with personal training in guerilla warfare, fanning the flames of Islamic militancy to bring down a Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Failed US policies in Iraq and elsewhere have created instability from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and now China's strategically important Xinjian province.

If Islamic insurgency were to spread on a large scale to Indonesia — with the world's largest Islamic population — it could turn our region on its head.

In the meantime, opinion polls have already uncovered a polarised public response. If body bags start arriving at Wellington Airport and allegations of human rights abuse continue to surface, divided public attitudes will ensure that Afghanistan becomes an explosive domestic issue.

Especially under a National-led government, New Zealand will naturally fall back on established ties with traditional First-World allies. But the Asia Pacific region has changed beyond recognition in recent decades. If we overlook this simply to preserve loyalties dating back to World War II, this decision could return to haunt us. In considering military engagement in Afghanistan in support of the US, New Zealand should also ask whether this will serve its medium-term strategic and trading interests with China, India, Pakistan and other Asian partners, as well as in the Pacific, where failing and failed states are proliferating on our doorstep as we focus on Geneva Conventions and blood and guts in faraway Afghanistan.

If New Zealand opts for continuing commitment to its internationally recognised reconstruction work in Afghanistan, it would cost considerably more than the deployment of a small SAS corps, but would be politically almost risk-free. Further damage to New Zealand's international human rights record could be avoided. The New Zealand public would not be divided. The US would be irritated, but as its only faint hope of long-term success in Afghanistan lies in winning the hearts and minds of the general population, a continuation of New Zealand's peacekeeping commitment would be in line with current strategic US thinking on Afghanistan.

New Zealand would also be aligned with Nato's reluctant EU members, who have preferred civilian engagement throughout.

Bob Rigg is former senior editor of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and former chairman of the NZ National Consultative Committee on Disarmament.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/opinion/2721720/A-question-of-engagement-for-Nationals-fresh-troops
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DidiMau69
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2009, 06:25:34 pm »

You wonder why the Yanks have got Nukes and don't use them.

A general irradiation of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and a couple of tiddlers onto Somalia would solve a shit load of problems overnight.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 12:14:43 am »


....and create a nuclear winter that would end up biting the Yanks (and the Israelis) as well as everyone else.

I guess even the Yanks aren't too thick in regard to comprehending that little senario.

Clearly some other people don't get it at all....DUH!!!
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DidiMau69
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 10:50:38 am »

Oops, I forgot to ask for a 1 kiloton Tactical warhead on Masterton. I've often thought that the centre of Hastings could do with one in the early hours of the morning also - we probably wouldn't notice it from Napier.

Able to be fired from a 203mm Gun, one of these chappies wipes out approximately a kilometre. The radiation half life means that you can enter ground zero with only minor protection after a week. A year later there would be as much radiation as given off by one those old fashioned luminous bed side clocks.

It takes more than a couple of strategically placed nukes to create a Nuclear Winter. People are walking around in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Somewhat of a tourist attraction I believe.
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 01:02:12 pm »

I assume Didi Mau thinks he is being funny. He has a peculiar sense of humour.

The movie "'Charlie Wilson's War" is doing the rounds of Sky at the moment. It's worth watching. It is Hollywood, but is historically accurate enough and demonstrates how the US gave millions of dollars worth of modern weaponry to Muslim fundamentalists to defeat the Soviets.

None of the Yanks seems to have given the slightest thought to what would happen once the Russians had gone.

The fundamentalists became the Taleban and took over the country, using American weapons they had been trained to use by Americans. The US then decided they had to go to war with the people they had armed and trained.

At least the Obama administration is being more realistic about Afghanistan. The aim now is not to establish a peaceful Western style democracy, but simply to achieve whatever stability is possible.

Afghanistan has always been largely ungoverned and ungovernable.

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2009, 03:06:31 pm »

I assume Didi Mau thinks he is being funny. He has a peculiar sense of humour.


He sure does....the Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital is in Hastings. After he detonated his 1 kilo-tonne nuke in Hastings, he'd then be scratching his head trying to remember where the local hospital is (He'd probably be still thinking it was up on Hospital Hill in Napier even though it hasn't existed there for decades). DUH!!!!

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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2009, 02:10:07 pm »

KTJ, more likely Didi Mau wouldn't be able to find his head in order to scratch it.
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DidiMau69
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2009, 05:24:19 pm »

Irony is wasted on children and socialists.

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 04:59:28 pm »


Key to send SAS on new tour of duty

Amnesty International warns NZ over torture

By ANTHONY HUBBARD and JON STEPHENSON - Sunday Star Times | 5:00AM - Sunday, 09 August 2009

THE Cabinet is expected to decide tomorrow to send NZ's elite SAS troops to Afghanistan for a new tour of duty.

Sources said the issue was to go to the weekly Monday cabinet meeting and that the mood seemed to be hardening in favour of sending the troops.

Prime Minister John Key gave a broad hint last month that the troops would go when he told the television current affairs show Q & A: "I do think it's important that New Zealand plays its role, and plays its part in trying to get on top of what is a terrorist hotspot."

American pressure has been building for New Zealand and other countries to join the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the war in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked personally for the SAS to return, following three rotations there under the Labour-led government of Helen Clark.

But Amnesty International is warning the government it could breach international law if SAS troops in Afghanistan hand over prisoners to the Afghan authorities. Amnesty International Aotearoa chief executive Patrick Holmes says it continues to receive reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees handed to the Afghan government by the ISAF.

States that transfer people to places "where they are at grave risk of torture" may be breaching their international legal obligations, Holmes said.

He also warned an agreement with the Afghan government over the treatment of prisoners which Wellington has been trying to persuade Afghanistan to put in writing since 2006 would not absolve New Zealand from its obligation to protect detainees from torture.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said no such written agreement had been concluded with Afghanistan, although there had been a verbal agreement since 2006. The government was optimistic it could obtain a written agreement, he said.

Last week the Sunday Star-Times reported that international legal experts said New Zealand breached the Geneva Conventions by transferring prisoners to the Americans in 2002 despite evidence the Americans might not treat those prisoners humanely. Most prisoners in Afghanistan are now handed to the Afghan government, not the Americans.

"With regard to any redeployment of New Zealand SAS troops, Amnesty's concern is not whether forces are deployed or not, but that all forces in Afghanistan must adhere to international humanitarian law and human rights standards," Holmes said.

Meanwhile, the Star-Times has learnt that the US may be withholding information that could prove the American military mistreated prisoners transferred by the SAS to US custody in Kandahar.

There is no suggestion the SAS abused prisoners before handing them over. However, American international law expert Michael Ratner says that by handing prisoners to the American military without recording their names, New Zealand had created "ghost detainees" a serious breach of the conventions. Without prisoners' names, it is difficult to follow up to see if they have been mistreated or are still in custody.

When New Zealand asked the Americans in 2006 to check on prisoners the SAS handed over in 2002, Wellington was asked for more information about their identity "such as ideally their names" names the SAS did not take.

But SAS men have told the Star-Times American intelligence agents with them on missions had recorded identity information about prisoners the SAS captured, including fingerprints and DNA.

The Defence Force was unable to say if it would renew its request for all information the Americans held about the prisoners. A spokesman said: "The issues you've raised are complex, and the Defence Force is working on a response."

A Danish special forces soldier based at Kandahar at the same time said his unit operated in a similar way to the SAS, taking details of prisoners' height, eye colour and place and date of detention. They photographed prisoners and, when possible, took fingerprints but not their names. The soldier believed the "no names" procedure was an unwritten policy, not a simple oversight.

When it emerged that prisoners transferred by Danish soldiers to the Americans in 2002 had been tortured at Kandahar, journalists sought copies of the information recorded about the prisoners. However, the Danish military said the information had been destroyed as they saw no need to keep it.

The New Zealand Defence Force could not say whether it has destroyed information about the prisoners the SAS detained. A spokesman said checking this would "take some time".

Acting Prime Minister Bill English told parliament last week that Prime Minister John Key has been looking into the issues of prisoner mistreatment raised by the Star-Times. Key said the SAS had acted in good faith in 2002, and noted US President Barack Obama had emphasised the non-use of torture and humane treatment of detainees.

However, Green MP Keith Locke said there was still no guarantee prisoners transferred to the Americans or Afghanis would be treated humanely. "We oppose the return of the SAS to Afghanistan. But if the government ignores our advice and sends them, it must ensure any prisoners taken are not transferred to torture."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/2733371/Key-to-send-SAS-on-new-tour-of-duty



Drug culture of disgraced soldiers revealed

By TIM HUME - Sunday Star Times | 5:00AM - Sunday, 09 August 2009

A GROUP of soldiers sent home from Afghanistan in disgrace for smoking hashish used a codeword to summon members to regular drug sessions, held in an army workshop where two bongs were stashed.

Internal New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) reports, released last week under the Official Information Act, reveal the drug use among the six soldiers was "not an isolated incident or a `one-off' affair". Junior members of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) took part in at least six drug sessions, held in an electrical workshop at Kiwi base in Bamiyan and at forward operating base Romero, seven hours' drive away, where one was suspected of being stoned when reporting late for sentry duty.

A soldier at Romero was also described by personnel as being "plastered". Afghanistan is a dry mission, with servicemen forbidden from drinking alcohol.

The reports, released to the Sunday Star-Times after eight months of stalling by NZDF, describe how the soldiers used a flat soldering iron to smoke "spots" of the class-B drug in the workshop, beginning within a month of starting the deployment. Cut-off plastic drink bottles, used to funnel the hashish smoke, were found "well-concealed" in the workshop.

The "Bamiyan Six" were sent home under military police guard in March last year, following an investigation triggered when one of the soldiers was overheard discussing his drug use.

Defence Force spokesman Commander Shaun Fogarty said that despite five of the six admitting to investigating officers they had smoked the drug, all charges against them were later dismissed because of procedural errors in the investigation.

"Our investigators didn't advise them of their rights and what have you; because that wasn't administered ... the evidence taken was inadmissible."

No disciplinary action was taken against the soldiers, all but one of whom is still in the military, other than censures on their employment records.

The reports suggested drug use could be a wider problem among soldiers in Afghanistan, one of the world's major drug-producing nations, awash with cheap and easily accessible opium and hashish. One of the accused said he had heard drugs had been consumed at the base for the previous three rotations, and one of the investigators reported a "nagging worry" that if an Afghan employee at the base had provided the drugs, as two of the accused suggested, "then it will continue to be a problem".

But Fogarty said there had been no repeat of the incident and he believed the Defence Force was on top of the issue. "To put it in perspective, we've had 1800 staff go through the PRT in six years, and we've had six bad eggs in this case."

At home, military police have arrested at least six NZDF personnel for drug offences since 2005, in Auckland, Linton and Burnham.

Fogarty said improvements had been made to the military justice system since the incident, with all officers trained in conducting investigations. The Defence Force was also now able to implement random drug tests in the field. The reports showed Bamiyan base had no pottles for urine analysis when investigators sought to drug-test the suspects at the time of the incident.

Fogarty said investigators had found no clear evidence the drugs had been brought on to the base by an Afghan employee, or that drugs had been consumed on base during previous deployments. "It's very difficult to investigate, anyway."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/2733372/Drug-culture-of-disgraced-soldiers-revealed
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2009, 02:38:04 am »

Here's some film of what our sas is up against

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DidiMau69
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2009, 09:56:48 am »

"We oppose the return of the SAS to Afghanistan. But the government ignores our advice and sends them....."  Green MP Keith Locke.

When is this person going to realise that they, their opinions and the opinions of the lunatic fringe that they represent are of absolutely no consequence to the rest of the the world.
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2009, 02:23:01 pm »


Nobody has ever managed to conquer and subdue Afghanistan. And nobody ever will.

The Russians got their arses kicked.

The British got their arses kicked.

And every would-be conqueror before the British got their arses kicked.

It will be no different this time.

The European nations will eventually pull out due to public pressure. Sometime later, the Poms will pull out for the same reason (when the body-bag count becomes to unpalitable). The Aussies will stay on like the Yank's Uncle Tom they are, but even they will eventually realise they are flogging a dead horse and bugger off back home. Then the deepening quagmire will cause American public opinion to pull the rug out from beneath their military crusades in Afghanistan. The Taliban will simply bide their time while continuing to use guerilla war tactics against the invaders, just like the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong did. Eventually they will prevail. Just like Afghans have always eventually prevailed against invaders.

Read up on history to see what is going to eventually happen.
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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2009, 05:03:13 pm »


Should Key deploy the SAS?

ON THE HOUSE — COLIN ESPINER

Stuff.co.nz | 12:11PM - Monday, 10 August 2009

Should the Government send the SAS back to Afghanistan?

It seems almost certain that today Prime Minister John Key is going to announce the fourth deployment of our best fighting force. He's dropped plenty of hints, and Cabinet is due to discuss the matter today.

A lot has changed since the SAS was first posted there in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, of course. As Labour leader Phil Goff pointed out this morning, New Zealand troops have been in Afghanistan for longer than they fought in World War II.

But rather than things drawing to a close, the situation in Afghanistan seems to be getting worse, and more dangerous. Which, of course, is why the United States is so keen for New Zealand's highly regarded SAS to go back.

There are arguments on both sides. As Key has said, terrorism is the world's problem, not just America's, and that means New Zealand must do its share. There's no doubt that Afghanistan is a breeding ground for terrorism (much more than Iraq — at least, until Saddam Hussein was toppled) and that it was just the state of lawlessness and anarchy that allowed the Taliban to flourish in the first place.

It's possible that an injection of special tactics groups from countries like Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand might just be enough to break the current deadlock in fighting the shadowy insurgents who don't exactly play by Queensberry Rules.

But you could also argue that eight years of provincial reconstruction by regular troops and three tours of duty by the SAS is more than enough of a commitment from a country of four million people half a world away, and that we have other more pressing problems closer to home.

There's also the very real question of what happens afterwards, assuming the SAS does go back. It's to be hoped John Key has sought some assurances about exactly what processes the US have in mind to set up a proper government, army, and police force in Afghanistan. Iraq has hardly filled anyone with confidence on this score.

It's probable America has leaned quite hard on the Government to send the SAS, despite the protestations to the contrary from all sides. And let's face it, that is a consideration. While Key has said Cabinet will make its own decision, no ally (or very, very good friend, or whatever it is we are) of America's is going to turn down a direct request from Uncle Sam lightly.

And neither should they. Wellington's relationship with Washington has been rocky over the past couple of decades, but things have been getting better in recent years. And New Zealand has stood alongside America in most of the wars of the last century, aside from Iraq.

That's not to say that Where America Goes We Go. Just that there are valid reasons for considering its request.

I'd hate to be in Key's shoes on this one. Sending the SAS will be a tough call. If he does, he's going to be criticised by some groups for bending to the will of America and putting our troops in harm's way. Of course if any are injured or even killed, then that goes double.

If he refuses, he will stand accused of not assisting America end a bloody nightmare that is threatening the stability of the region.

Whatever the decision — and as I say, I reckon it will be a yes — Labour needs to fall into line on this. I've been surprised by Goff's failure to back the Government on whatever it decides.

I thought the Opposition was supposed to back whoever was the Government on matters of foreign policy — wasn't that the new deal both Labour and National signed up to a few years back? Particularly when it comes to sending troops into harm's way.

If the SAS are going back, they need to go with the blessing of all sides.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/on-the-house/2736033/Should-Key-deploy-the-SAS
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2009, 05:26:34 pm »

50 ways to meet your maker



Afghanistan is a perfect place for an ambush They often sit on top of a hill
and just wait for their victims to drive past then its a turkey shoot
as the Russians figured out and left.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2009, 06:36:58 pm by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2009, 08:11:40 pm »


“Crusades” forces casualties in Afghanistan to date....

Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan by Country as at 10 August 2009
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2009, 02:26:57 pm »


SAS to be deployed in Afghanistan

NZPA | 6:26PM - Monday, 10 August 2009

Coalition Casualties in Afghanistan by Country as at Monday 10th August 2009

                 “CRUSADES” FORCES CASUALTIES IN AFHANISTAN TO DATE

The Government has made the "difficult" decision to send Special Air Services (SAS) troops back to Afghanistan, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

The deployment will be the fourth of SAS troops, and a commitment has been made to maintain about 70 personnel for up to 18 months, in three rotations.

"It's a difficult decision. There's no getting away from the fact that Afghanistan is a dangerous place," Mr Key said.

He said the deployment would be in the "foreseeable future" but kept with convention in refusing to say when, or where, the elite troops would go.

Parallel to the SAS deployment would be the gradual withdrawal of the Defence Force's 140-strong provincial reconstruction team (PRT), which has been in Bamyan province since 2003.

The PRT would be withdrawn during the next three to five years and by the time it left, New Zealand would have had a presence in Afghanistan for 14 years.

Afghanistan remained an unstable place but Mr Key did not believe it was any more dangerous now than during previous SAS deployments.

"I don't think you can eliminate that there is a real risk to the people that we're deploying there, just as there actually is, I think, quite a significant risk to the 140 personnel that we have in Bamyan Province," he said.

"But I wouldn't call, on the advice that I have, the likelihood that this rotation could be more dangerous than previous rotations, not withstanding that Afghanistan is an increasingly dangerous place."

The United States had made repeated requests for the SAS to return to Afghanistan.

Mr Key met a senior US representative at last week's Pacific Islands Forum and "gave them an indication that it was likely this decision would be reached".

"I think that they are supportive, obviously, and grateful that New Zealand is playing its part."

The Green Party has raised concerns in Parliament about the controversial handing over in 2002 of Afghan prisoners by New Zealand troops to US forces who allegedly mistreated them.

Mr Key today said the SAS would be most likely to hand any detainees over to Afghan authorities.

"Like New Zealand, Afghanistan is a party to the Geneva Convention," he said.

"New Zealand has already received an assurance from the Afghan government that all transferred detainees will be treated humanely according to these conventions and international law."

Mr Key also announced today there would be greater New Zealand civilian involvement in Afghanistan, particularly in agriculture, health and education sectors.

An ambassador would be appointed to support that work, based in Kabul.

Labour leader Phil Goff said his party did not support the SAS deployment as it believed the way to win the conflict was by winning over the people "and we were doing that most competently and effectively through the PRT in Bamyan".

"The concerns that we have with the SAS don't relate to the competency of the SAS itself but rather what it requires to win this conflict at the present time," he said.

"We are not in the situation we were in earlier in the 21st century where this was a battle with al Qaeda. This has fast moved in the direction of being a civil war."

Green MP Kennedy Graham said the decision was an example of "strategic folly based on muddled thinking".

"The engagement of our SAS will compromise the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the work done by our (PRT)," Dr Graham said.

The way forward was through the PRT and increased civilian aid, not by sending "crack combat troops to engage in covert counter-terrorism activities there".


http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2737700/SAS-to-be-deployed-in-Afghanistan
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2009, 02:28:12 pm »


SAS head back to front line

By TRACY WATKINS - The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Jumping into Uncle Sam's sewer!

New Zealand's war in Afghanistan looks likely to be one of its longest military deployments as Special Air Service troops prepare to rejoin the front line.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday it would be three to five years before troops could quit the troubled country altogether as many as 14 years after Helen Clark first dispatched the SAS in the wake of the 2001 attack on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington DC.

New Zealand's involvement in the war has so far cost nearly $200 million. "I was hoping for an exit strategy a little faster than that but ... that is the timeframe that is realistic and will support all our efforts," Mr Key said.

Up to 70 SAS soldiers are poised to leave for Afghanistan after the Cabinet agreed yesterday to their return after a request from the United States. They will be deployed in Afghanistan for up to 18 months, in three rotations.

Mr Key would not say where the troops would be serving or how soon they would leave but has previously made it clear that they would be ready to move as soon as the Cabinet had made its decision.

Approval to send the SAS back to Afghanistan their fourth deployment since the war started followed a review of New Zealand's military involvement there.

Mr Key confirmed that he had briefed US officials last week on New Zealand's likely commitment of the SAS, which comes as he prepares for his first official visit to the US as prime minister next month.

Cabinet also agreed to begin winding down New Zealand's military involvement in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province, where up to 140 Kiwi soldiers have been based since 2003, helping with reconstruction efforts as part of a provincial reconstruction team.

But Mr Key said it would be several years before New Zealand quit the province altogether, adding that it would provide more civilian workers to help fill the gap, in education, agriculture and health.

The deployment comes as conditions in Afghanistan become increasingly dangerous, but Mr Key said he did not consider troops to be in greater danger than at any time previously.

But the decision to send the SAS faces opposition. Labour leader Phil Goff said the way to end the conflict was through winning "hearts and minds", not sending more combat troops.

"This has fast moved in the direction of being a civil war between the Taleban elements ... our belief is that the best way of winning in Afghanistan is by winning people over to the side of having a democratic regime and rejecting terrorism. We are not convinced that can be done by simply increasing the number of combat forces."

New Zealand's longest military deployment is in the Middle East with the United Nations' Truce Supervision Organisation, which the country has been part of since just after World War II.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/politics/2738162/SAS-head-back-to-front-line
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2009, 02:28:55 pm »


Five more years in Afghanistan

By COLIN ESPINER - The Press | 5:00AM - Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sucking Up to Uncle Sam

Kiwi troops are likely to remain in Afghanistan for another five years, with the Government agreeing to United States pleas for more help from the Special Air Service.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that 70 SAS personnel would head to Afghanistan in three rotations, lasting 18 months.

They will join the 130 New Zealand troops serving in peacekeeping and provincial reconstruction in the war-torn country.

The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) will be "re-aligned" to help build the capacity of the Afghan police and transfer the lead security role to Afghan forces.

Key also announced a beefed-up civilian effort in Bamiyan province, with a focus on agriculture, health and education.

While the SAS would be pulled out after 18 months, army personnel would remain in Afghanistan for up to five years, he said.

"I was hoping for an exit strategy a little faster than that, but the advice given to me by those that undertook the review is that that is the time frame that was realistic," Key said.

"We've had our people there since 2003. I'd hate to undermine all the good work they have done, so an orderly exit is the right way to go."

The deployment of the SAS marks the fourth time the elite squad has been dispatched to Afghanistan, although it is the first time this National Government has sent troops.

Key said he did not think the latest SAS mission was more dangerous than the previous three, despite the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

"It is a difficult decision. There's no getting away from the fact that Afghanistan is a dangerous place, and we're deploying our elite military there to try to stabilise the position," he said.

"But I'm confident we have some of the best people in the world and we're now asking them to complete a very difficult task."

Key declined to comment on exactly what the SAS would do in Afghanistan, or when the troops would fly out.

He said they would work with other nations' elite troops, but under New Zealand command.

The Green Party has raised concerns in Parliament about the controversial handing over in 2002 of Afghan prisoners by New Zealand troops to US forces, which allegedly mistreated them.

Key said the Government had sought an assurance that anyone captured by the SAS and transferred to the Afghan Army would be treated humanely and in accordance with international conventions.

While the Cabinet officially made the decision to deploy the SAS yesterday, Key said he had told a senior official of the Obama Administration a week ago that the Government was likely to agree to it.

Labour leader Phil Goff said that despite Labour deploying the SAS three times while in government, he did not believe the fourth rotation was justified.

"We decided at the end of the third rotation our emphasis should be on the PRT," Goff said.

"Our preference is still in favour of the PRT and we're not in favour of sending the SAS back under current circumstances."

Key said he was disappointed by Goff's remarks.

"These are New Zealanders who are putting their lives on the line to make the world a safer place. It's never too late and I'd encourage Mr Goff and the Labour Party to support our actions."

Governor welcomes SAS troops

Sending New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) troops back to Afghanistan has been welcomed by the governor of the province where regular Kiwi troops are stationed.

Bamiyan governor Habibi Serabi told The Press from Kabul that she valued the role New Zealand soldiers had played in her province and supported the redeployment of the elite SAS unit elsewhere.

"We have had a good experience with the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team)," she said. "It is good if New Zealand sends special forces to problem areas."

At the Kiwi headquarters in Bamiyan, PRT chief of staff Nick Gillard rejected fears that New Zealand troops may become more of a target as a result of Prime Minister John Key's announcement of the 18-month SAS redeployment. "There has always been a security threat in Bamiyan, irrespective of the role New Zealand plays in the wider Afghanistan," he said.

Gillard described plans for a phased change to the PRT as "positive".

The mission was "an evolving beast". Initially, security was the focus, but as it improved, there should be a transition to development and governance, he said.

Soldiers will still handle security, but the civilian component will increase to help consolidate democratic government, adherence to the rule of law and reconstruction. A diplomat and an NZAID worker will be put permanently in the Kiwi compound.

Their addition coincides with a greater United States presence in Bamiyan. Almost 50 US military policemen have joined PRT ranks.

This follows a massive injection of reconstruction money from Washington.

This year, the PRT is managing US$40 million (NZ$59.3m) in funds.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/politics/2738287/Five-more-years-in-Afghanistan
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2009, 09:03:26 pm »


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2009, 04:42:01 pm »


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