Death of 3 more soldiers in Bamyan Afghanistan
Significance to New Zealanders continues to this day – and perhaps with more impact

In 2012 five people lost their lives in a fortnight. We have 10,000 troops in NZ.
Three blown up in a mine explosion on August 19th, 2012.

Transcript of interview held by Mark Sainsbury on Close Up August 20th, 2012.

The Taliban were once the “darlings” of the West with their formidable fighting skills directed at the Soviet forces who attempted to occupy Afghanistan in the 1980's. Their leader Mullah Omar (spelling needs to be checked) lost his right eye.

The Soviets eventually withdrew and the Teleban came to power.

Paul Buchanan: Strategic Analyst. “They may have some primitive aspects to the way they look but they are very sophisticated”.

The Taliban were driven out of power in 2001 by a U.S led coalition soon after 9/11.

The violence despite the ever higher numbers of foreign troops is getting worse. The United Nations reported in February that the number of civilians killed and injured in Afghanistan has risen for the 5th year in a row. With no military solution the battle is on for the hearts and minds of Afghans.

Paul Buchanan: “It's a battle of wills. They can not win the war militarily. They can certainly inflict a death by 1000 cuts.”

The Taliban are only 20,000 strong but have rendered large tracts of territory unstable. They pulled out of peace talks citing that they had a problem with the U.S's ever changing position. They don't recognise Hamed Kazi's [spelling] government as legitimate.

Paul Buchanan:“As much as we may not like the Taliban, they are an indigenous force; it is their country. They're not only an armed force but they are a political force. They have to be reckoned with.”

Many Afghans say they fear that the Taliban will be back in power once foreign forces pull out.

Mark Sainsbury: Are the Taliban really going for Nz soldiers?
Dr Jim Vietch: Head of Security Studies at Massey University:”Taking out two soldiers two weeks ago put the spotlight on Nzers. So we have taken another hit [killing of 5 more soldiers] – it's quite deliberate....we've got to have some protection up there [Afghanistan]. We've got to bolster up the protection.”

Mark Sainsbury: “Why don't we have the protection?”

Vietch:”Well that's a long story. I think it's shortage of money. WE just don't have the resources to put into these things. It's a costly business putting people into Afghanistan anyway, but to put more money in, in order to protect what we've got – that's another cost and the military have been asked to save money just like everyone else in the government sector. ...we've now been spotted in Afghanistan. It's been assessed what our contribution is and the Taliban are not foolish. They are out to score points off us and this will have tremendous propaganda advantage for theI think so. Taliban. They've taken out five New Zealanders in over two weeks.”

Mark Sainsbury:”But were such a more relatively insignificant nation compared to the big powerhouses. What possible kudos do they get out of that?”

Veitch: “That's just the point. If you take out soldiers from one of the smallest countries involved then you've got Kudos on th otherside. The enemy gets kudos out of events like this. They'll be rubbing their hands and laughing because they're taken out New Zealanders who thought all along they were the good chaps on the block and would therefore be treated accordingly. That doesn't work. We're in a war zone.”

Mark Sainsbury: “Lieutenant General Jones is being asked to report to the Prime Minister. Do you think that is being done pretty smartly?”

Veitch: “I think so. I think the S.A.S unit should go up there straight away. The S.A.S is the best equipped unit. They are the best equipped intelligence wise. We need forward intelligence to know what the enemy is on about … we need better intelligence than what we've got and the S.A.S would add strength to what we've got there.”

Mark Sainsbury: How soon could we deploy them?”

Veitch: “Overnight...they are the unit of the New Zealand Military that goes at the drop of a hat. They're all equipped to go. They've got their bags ready to go because that's the nature of the S.A.S.”

Mark Sainsbury: “Why are we there?”
Vietch: “That's a long story but the Clarke government put us there as a development

project really. But in the background was really trying to relink us with the United States and it's been a very effective programme because we managed to get on the right side of the United States – broken off in 1985 – two years ago put back together again. And now we stand alongside the United States. What we are after is a trade deal. But we're after something more than that: we want a seat in the Security Council and there is no other way we can get the seat on the Security Council and other things around that, other than staying in there and being the best neighbours we can be to those who are taking the bigger hits than we are: the Americans and the NATO forces.”

Mark Sainsbury: “So it's politics?”
Veitch: “Sure thing.”

Monday August 27th

Taliban warns of more attacks on NZ soldiers

Updated at 2:45 pm today
The Taliban says it has a new base and more fighters in Bamyan province in Afghanistan and its men are poised to strike at New Zealand soldiers there.
It warns many more New Zealand soldiers will be killed if they are not withdrawn from the country immediately.
Five New Zealand soldiers have died in Afghanistan this month, bringing to 10 the number who have died serving there since 2003.
Through an interpreter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told a Radio New Zealand correspondent in Kabul that there will be more attacks on New Zealand soldiers.
While the Taliban has ''no enmity'' with New Zealand, he said New Zealand has stood alongside the Taliban's enemy and is being treated as an invader.
He said the New Zealand Government and military know they will face more attacks.
The Taliban spokesperson said mujahideen (holy warriors) were given different objectives and targets during winter and the summer offensive is broader than any in the past.

Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand

Interview with spokesperson for the Taliban re New Zealanders in Afghanistan 27th August 2012. definitely of significance to NZers.

significance to NZers continues - September 2012
Four SAS logistics officers have been sent to Afghanistan to gather intelligence for a retribution attack on insurgents who killed five New Zealand troops.
Prime Minister John Key today revealed United States Special Forces would "almost certainly" carry out any such attack.
The officers, who left last week, are based in Kabul and have been working with the International Stabilisation and Assistance Force and special forces allies.
The Government announced last month the officers would be sent to Afghanistan after soldiers Private Richard Harris, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Corporal Luke Tamatea were killed in the Bamiyan province when a roadside bomb - or improvised explosive device (IED) - hit their humvee vehicle. Two weeks earlier Rory Malone and Pralli Durrer were killed in a fire fight with insurgents in the same area.
All five troops were part of New Zealand's provincial reconstruction team based in the province.
Key stressed today the logistics officers were not combat troops.
"They are working on trying to get better intelligence on the IED bombers and those who undertook the attack against our people.
"In the event that we can build that case, because you have to go through quite a legal process, that would allow essentially an attack to be undertaken against those people."
The deaths of the five troops took to 10 New Zealand's toll in Afghanistan. Medic Lance Corporal Baker was the first female to be killed in battle since the Vietnam War.
The Government confirmed earlier this month that New Zealand troops would be out of the war-torn nation by the end of April next year.