Hager, Stephenson, Keating respond to Operation Burnham inquiry

Nicky Hager:

Hit and Run inquiry decision welcomed

Nicky Hager has welcomed the announcement today of an independent inquiry into civilian casualties during the August 2010 NZSAS raid in Afghanistan – Operation Burnham – the subject of the 2017 book Hit and Run.

“This is very, very good news for New Zealand,” he said. “It is vital that, as a country, we can face up to incidents where our military does terrible things.”

He said good people have been chosen for the inquiry, the terms of reference are broad and resources have been allocated so it can do a proper job. “It feels like the start of a sound and thorough process.”

“There have been years of cover up by the NZSAS and senior military staff ever since the raid – intended for insurgents – killed and wounded 21 civilians, most of them women and children. Even after we wrote a whole book setting out what had happened, the New Zealand Defence Force continued its denials. It is an intolerable situation when the military tries to cover up its own misdeeds.”

“The obvious answer was an independent inquiry and so we warmly welcome today’s announcement.”

“International law says that countries have a legal obligation to conduct an independent inquiry whenever there are credible allegations of civilian casualties. The New Zealand Defence Force and government refused to do this for seven years. At last another government is doing the right thing.”

Jon Stephenson:

The full story from Henry will be on Stuff.

And another reaction:

Leave a comment


  1. NOEL

     /  11th April 2018

    Two accusations have been made.
    1. That a prisoner was inappropriately handled whist in NZ custody. That was not proven to have occurred.
    2. The other was that the mission was a revenge raid for earlier New Zealander losses.

    I’m guessing that the second won’t be confirmed by this inquiry.
    I’m also guessing Stephenson and Hager won’t accept the result given their silence on the investigation of the first accusation.I

  2. High Flying Duck

     /  12th April 2018

    Barry Soper sums it all up nicely:

    “Tragically six civilians were killed, but even the definition of some of those “civilians” is debatable given what the Attorney General David Parker tells us.

    He’s now seen video of the raid and says claims in the book Hit and Run, written by Nicky Hagar and Jon Stephenson, that they were defenceless villages he doesn’t accept, he thinks there were armed people present.

    He doesn’t only think it, he obviously knows it having seen the video.

    There were two descriptions of the villages under fire in the book.

    The first said they “contained only a few farmers and mostly women, children and elderly people.”

    The second said they were mainly occupied by “women, children and the elderly when the troop carrying helicopters and Apache gunships arrived.”

    Both accounts fail to mention armed rebels in the villages, now acknowledged by Parker. So in reality this was a firefight and unfortunately some innocents lost their lives, which tragically happens in war zones.

    So why have an inquiry?”



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